Short of a cure, a way to heal Multiple Sclerosis would be considered a success.  MS damages the myelin sheath covering the nerve fiber.  For the MS patient, this damage disrupts the information flow between the brain and the rest of the body.  To heal MS, the myelin sheath would need to be repaired, thus restoring this vital information flow.

In a healthy human body, the damage would be naturally repaired.  For the MS patient, this repair either takes place very slowly or not at all.  Instead, the myelin damage goes unrepaired and other myelin damage continues.  This unrepaired damage compounds on itself, thus the progression of the disease.  The more myelin damaged, the worse the symptoms of the disease become.  If the myelin could be repaired, the effect would be to heal Multiple Sclerosis.


Successful in mice, an antibody may heal MS damage in humans too


At least that is the hope.  A team of researchers in the U.S. has reported that a single dose of a human antibody injected in lab mice actually repaired myelin.  If replicated in humans, the effect would be to heal Multiple Sclerosis.  The work is being done by a team of biomedical researchers at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) in New York City.

In human MS patients, there is evidence that cells that manufacture myelin are still detectable around areas of myelin damaged by MS.  The challenge is to stimulate them to do their job.

The researchers engineered an antibody called rHIgM22.  The name is not important.  What is important is that the antibody binds to the myelin and to the surface of the cells in both the spinal cord and the brain and stimulated those cells to start the process of remyelination.  If this were to be duplicated in humans, it would heal multiple sclerosis, or at leat heal the damage done by it.  This is the first antibody ever seen to spur this activity in the Central nervous system.


Only a single dose was used


The mice were given only a single low dose injection of the antibody.  The remyelination process peaked at about five weeks.  But when the researchers combined it with a steroid already used in MS treatment, the antibody continued to spur the process to heal MS damaged myelin.  If approved to try in humans, the humans will already have the steroid in their system as part of their treatment.

It is still too early to tell how this will play out, but the first step in the quest to heal Multiple Sclerosis damage appears to have been made.  And so far, the side effects appear to be non-existent.  This is an area of research that holds much promise.