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Researchers test Epstein-Barr virus–specific T-cell therapy for progressive multiple sclerosis

A recent Australian study has looked at a new potential treatment being developed for multiple sclerosis (MS), which involves extracting a sample of T-cells from the patient’s own immune system.

The T-cells are ‘trained’ to target and kill Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) cells and then reintroduced back into the patient’s bloodstream.

EBV has long been associated with MS, with many patients found to be carriers of the virus, but it is still unclear what role the virus plays in developing the condition.

The open-label phase I trial treated 10 MS patients, five patients with secondary progressive MS and five patients with primary progressive MS. Researchers found that patients tolerated the treatment well, with only one person experiencing a side effect, which was reported as an altered sense of taste.

Seven of the 10 patients who participated either reported or showed measurable improvement in symptoms such as fatigue and improved quality of life.

Researchers concluded that clinical improvement following treatment was associated with the potency of EBV-specific reactivity of the administered T-cells. Further clinical trials are warranted to determine the efficacy of EBV-specific T-cell therapy in MS.

Although the treatment was well tolerated, this research suggests there could be some promise as a potential treatment in the future. However, it's still at an early stage and more trials are needed to test its efficacy.

Source MS-UK 28/11/2018

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