In MS, myelin, the protective coating around the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord is damaged by the immune system. This protective coating not only protects nerves but also provides nourishment and support, and without it nerve cells will eventually die. Current, MS therapies suppress the immune system but do not promote the repair of nerve cells which have been previously damaged.
Professor Trevor Kilpatrick and his team are investigating a protein called Tyro3 which in the laboratory has been shown to improve the natural repair processes in the brain by causing the production of myelin. In this project, this team will determine whether producing more myelin in laboratory models of MS is enough to reverse the damage associated with MS. They will also test if certain other medications, already approved for treating other diseases, (in what is known as drug repurposing) are able to promote new myelin production in the brain.
These studies could lead to the creation of new therapies or re-purposing of current therapies to enhance myelin repair, and slow down or stop the progression of MS.
Updated: 11 January 2018
Updated: 05 January, 2018