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Progenitor cells may hold the key to new MS treatment

A new study from the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine has discovered that oligodendrocyte progenitor cells are key contributors to the development of multiple sclerosis (MS).

These cells are often ignored by scientists, and make up around five per cent of the brain and spine. They play an important role by creating the cells which make the body’s myelin. Scientists previously thought that in people affected by MS, these cells don’t produce the myelin-making cells, but new evidence suggests they instead play an active role on the immune system’s attack.

Researchers found that blocking the effects of progenitor cells aided in myelin restoration and reduced inflammation. They hope that their findings will open new avenues for finding a cure, and said that doctors could potentially work to change the environment inside the brain to promote repair and avoid neurodegeneration. Many drugs can help slow disease progression, but something which helps myelin repair is needed for a breakthrough treatment to be found. The researchers added that unfortunately, due to progenitor cells playing multiple roles within the brain, it is not as simple as just shutting them down.

Source: MS-UK 13/11/2019

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