09:58 08 June 2013
Experimental therapy given by scientists to a small group of people who are suffering from multiple sclerosis appears to be safe. The therapy, which has the main objective of keeping the body from attacking its own nervous system, involved extracting white blood cells that were mixed with proteins which will be injected back into the patient to make them tolerate myelin.
The immune system attacks the myelin sheath when a patient suffers from multiple sclerosis. This causes numbness that can lead to paralysis. The new therapy aims to protect the myelin without disrupting the immune’s system other functions.
The experimental test, which scientists said is safe, was done to nine patients by a joint team from North Western University in Chicago, the University Hospital, Zurich and the University Medical Centre in Hamburg.
Prof Stephen Miller said: "Our approach leaves the function of the normal immune system intact. That's the holy grail."
He added: "We want to treat patients as early as possible in the disease before they have paralysis due to myelin damage, once the myelin is destroyed, it's hard to repair that."
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