Every so often, maybe every few months or so, I’m going to dedicate a MS Monday post to recent news that has come up related to multiple sclerosis. Any new treatments to have hit the market, any new treatments that are in the pipeline, or any juicy tidbits that are helpful to know.
In a treatment that is right up my alley, the gut microbiome is being researched at the University of Iowa and Mayo Clinic as a place to find treatments for MS. In these studies the research team used mouse models of MS and tested gut microbial samples from patients. Of the three bacterial strains they were studying, the researchers discovered one specific microbe, Prevotella histicola, effectively suppressed immune disease function in the mouse model of MS. This specific microbe, decreased two types of pro inflammatory cells at the same time it increased T cells, which are cells that fight disease. The team is hopeful that this finding might turn into a treatment in the future, I am hopeful as well.
Dr. Su Metcalfe is a scientist in Cambridge who is working with a stem cell particle called a LIF. She discovered that if a LIF is present in a cell, then the cell will stop attacking itself, but the cell will still respond to outside invaders as needed. Unfortunately, there was a problem. These LIFs only survive for 20 minutes at a time, making them not a useful treatment. But never fear! Nano-particles to the rescue! These nano-particles are made from similar material as soluble stitches, so they slowly dissolve over several days. By linking the LIF with the nano-particle, the LIF is now able to be delivered over a five day period. Problem solved! This complex yet fascinating treatment is amazing to me because it’s using the bodies own processes instead of medications, much like the microbiome treatment listed above.
Exercise as Treatment?
Lastly, in a recent study, it was stated that resistance training can help slow the progression of MS due to preventing brain shrinkage. The brain of a person with MS shrinks faster than the brain of someone without MS, and engaging in routine exercise can counteract this side effect of the disease. They actually saw that some areas of the brain started to grow in response to training as well, the brain is a muscle too folks!! This was a small study and more research is needed, but the results are encouraging non the less!
All of these treatments are outside of the box and show the advancement that the medical community is making! I am encouraged by the seriousness that researchers are looking at the microbiome with as well. It is clear that disease does begin in the gut, so the treatment should begin in the gut as well, right??
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