Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers a Step Closer to Controlling Inflammation in MS

A University of Adelaide researcher has published results that suggest a possible new mechanism to control multiple sclerosis (MS).

Dr Iain Comerford from the University's School of Molecular and Biomedical Science earned a three-year fellowship from MS Research Australia to work on this project. It is directed towards understanding how specific enzymes in cells of the immune system regulate immune cell activation and migration.

Along with his colleagues, Professor Shaun McColl and PhD students Wendel Litchfield and Ervin Kara, he focused on a molecule known as PI3Kgamma, which is involved in the activation and movement of white blood cells.

"There's already been worldwide interest in PI3Kgamma in relation to other human inflammatory disorders, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and our study links this molecule and MS," said Dr Comerford, who is a Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia Fellow at the University of Adelaide.

Dr Comerford and his colleagues have now shown that this molecule is crucial for the development of experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) in an animal model developed as a standard laboratory system for studying MS.

The team showed that a genetic alteration, which knocked out that particular molecule, resulted in a high resistance to the development of EAE and therefore protected against the nervous system damage typical of multiple sclerosis.

When the molecule is present, severe damage to the insulating myelin in the central nervous system was evident, resulting in inflammation in the spinal cord and myelin loss.

Following up on this result, the team then used an orally active drug that blocks the activity of the molecule PI3Kgamma at the first signs of disease onset. The drug even suppressed the development of EAE and reversed clinical signs of the disease.

"Our results so far have been very promising," Dr Comerford said.

"We've shown that by blocking PI3Kgamma, we can reduce the activation of self-reactive immune cells, reduce the release of inflammation-inducing molecules from immune cells, and also result in a dramatic reduction in the movement of immune cells into the central nervous system.

"Our hope is that future therapies for MS might target this molecule, which could very specifically dampen the damaging inflammation in the central nervous system.

"It will now be crucial to determine whether targeting these molecules could be a safe and effective way to treat MS in humans," Dr Comerford said.

Mr Jeremy Wright, CEO of MS Research Australia, said: "It is very rewarding to see that MSRA has been able to support these exciting developments by a young up-and-coming researcher. We will await his further results with great interest."

The research results were published recently in the online journal PLOS ONE.

Media Contact:

Dr Iain Comerford
Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia Fellow
School of Molecular & Biomedical Science
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 1127

Dr Iain Comerford | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>