At its heart, multiple sclerosis is believed to occur when rogue immune cells attack myelin – a fatty coating that surrounds nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. But what if these deviant immune cells could be taught to leave myelin alone? Or the immune system reprogrammed to fight these cells off? This is what researchers are hoping to do as they bring an age-old technology, vaccines, to bear in the treatment of MS.
When you think of vaccination, your mind probably goes to the shots you received as a child that were meant to protect you against certain bacterial or viral infections. Today, scientists are trying to adapt this same technology (with a few tweaks of course) to help stop autoimmune attacks. In the last few years a number of MS-focused vaccines have shown promising results in early phase clinical trials, and with each success the technology is closer than ever to offering a viable treatment option.Continue reading