Myelin damage repair is possible. Myelin is the protective coating or sheath around the nerve fibres in the central nervous system.
If you are living with MS, you may experience long-term disability from the myelin damage caused by MS.
In 2005, in response to a pressing need to investigate potential treatments for MS, the MS Society set up the Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair. Two years later we set up the Edinburgh Centre for Translational Research with the aim of converting findings from the laboratory into treatments for people with the condition. Researchers at the two centres have worked closely together and results so far have exceeded expectations.
Laboratory findings offer hope of myelin damage repair
The two teams looked at ways that the brain’s own stem cells repair myelin in laboratory models of MS and in human brain tissue from the MS Society Tissue Bank. The research showed that drugs can target a molecule called RXR-gamma, to encourage the brain?s own stem cells to repair damaged myelin.
This discovery could lead to treatment that could halt or even reverse the disabling effects of MS and make a huge difference to the lives of people living with the condition.
With the help of MS Society supporters, Professor Franklin?s team can continue their work, focusing on turning their discovery into a therapy that will promote myelin damage repair in people with MS.
This involves testing the drug that targets RXR-gamma in the laboratory alluding to, in around three years, a clinical trial to see if this drug is safe and effective in practice.
Professor Franklin says ?if we can show that drugs targeting RXR-gamma can promote myelin repair in people with MS, then it should be around 10 or 15 years from a therapy. This is one of the most exciting recent developments for people living with MS.?
It is my opinion that all cells in the body have the capacity to regenerate. In MS the immune system is attacking the myelin causing damage to the nerve fibre coating. When this attack stops or declines the cells regenerate and the symptoms recede.
This accounts for the interminable cycle of relapse and remission typical of the early Multiple Sclerosis disease. If the stimulus aggravating the immune system can be removed the attacks on the myelin will stop and recovery will be the natural outcome.
However, it should be noted that not all cells can regenerate. Neurons, in general, do not regenerate.
Why does a person develop MS?
That is the crux of the matter.
However, I have come to accept that diet plays a very important role in this disease. But, a poor diet cannot account for any one individual developing MS.
Furthermore, there are many people with dreadful dietary habits and appalling lifestyles who never succumb to MS.
With hindsight, I now believe that I have always had Multiple Sclerosis. It is a condition I was born with. There have been many tell-tale signs along the way, most too insignificant to have registered at the time.
While I was young my body was healthy, cell regeneration was optimal. Any damage caused by the immune system was quickly repaired.
As I aged this cell replication slowed and the cumulative damage appeared. There must be a genetic, heredity element at play here. My mother has MS and one of her aunts had something similar.
Most people develop MS in their thirties which would correlate with my hypothesis. It does not explain the predisposition that certain individuals have for this debilitating condition.
I have further observed, and it may be unconnected, that cognitive impairment can advance and recede. This would suggest that either myelin damage is reversible or myelin damage never occurred and inflammation was causing the impairment.
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