Using their myelin-bound particles, the researchers were able to both prevent the initiation of MS in their mouse model as well as inhibit its progression when injected immediately following the first sign of clinical symptoms.
The research team is now hoping to begin phase I clinical trials using this new technology. The material that makes up the particles has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is currently used in resorbable sutures as well as in clinical trials to deliver anti-cancer agents. Miller believes that the proven safety record of these particles along with their ability to be easily produced using good manufacturing practices will make it easier to translate their discovery into clinical use.
"I think we've come up with a very potent way to induce tolerance that can be easily translated into clinical practice. We're doing everything we can now to take this forward," said Miller.
In addition to its potential use for the treatment of MS, the researchers have shown in the lab that their therapy can induce tolerance for other autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes and specific food allergies. They also speculate that transplant patients could benefit from the treatment which has the potential to retract the body's natural immune response against a transplanted organ. Dr. Christine Kelley, NIBIB director of the Division of Science and Technology, points to the unique collaboration between scientists and engineers that made this advance a reality.
"This discovery is testimony to the importance of multidisciplinary research efforts in healthcare," said Kelley. "The combined expertise of these immunology and bioengineering researchers has resulted in a valuable new perspective on treating autoimmun
|Contact: Margot Kern|
NIH/National Institute of Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering