A recent news release announces that the results from a phase 1 clinical trial designed to provide a treatment to reset the immune system of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients indicated the therapy was safe and reduced patients’ immune systems’ reactivity to myelin by 50% to 75%. The release notes that during the trial, MS patients’ own specially processed white blood cells were reportedly used to deliver billions of myelin antigens into their bodies so their immune systems would recognize them as harmless and develop a tolerance to them.
Researchers acknowledge that while the nine patients treated in Hamburg, Germany were too few to statistically determine the treatment’s ability to prevent the progression of MS, the study indicated that patients who received the highest dose of white blood cells exhibited the greatest reduction in myelin reactivity. The release reports that the study’s primary goal centered on demonstrated the treatment’s safety and tolerability.
Stephen Miller, PhD, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, explains, “The therapy stops autoimmune responses that are already activated and prevents the activation of new autoimmune cells. Our approach leaves the function of the normal immune system intact,” Miller says.
The release notes that researchers are currently working to raise $1.5 million to launch a phase 2 trial which will assess whether the new treatment can prevent the progression of MS in humans.
With further testing, the therapy may also hold treatment implications for other autoimmune and allergic diseases by switching the antigens attached to the cells, researchers say.
Source: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine