In MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective layer on nerve cells known as myelin. The removal or damage of myelin is known as demyelination and it results in some of the symptoms observed in people with MS. Current treatments for MS focus on suppressing the immune system and there are yet to be any therapies developed that promote the re-myelination of nerves, which is needed to reverse MS symptoms.
Associate Professor Anthony Don has developed evidence that a naturally occurring signalling chemical in the body known as sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), is important for the creation and maintenance of myelin. One of the MS medications, fingolimod (Gilenya), which modulates the immune system, is known to mimic S1P and there is some evidence to suggest that it might also promote remyelination. How it might do this, however, is not yet clear.
This project will aim to determine how S1P might stimulate myelin repair and assess whether this S1P is needed for the body’s natural ability to remyelinate nerves following an MS relapse. The work has direct and immediate significance for MS, as it will clarify whether drugs, such as fingolimod and other similar drugs currently being developed, should be investigated as myelin repair therapies, as well as immune modifying treatments for MS.
Updated: 23 January 2019
Updated: 02 January, 2019
Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.
Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.
Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.