New target molecules might be the next stage of a personalized MS therapy

New target molecules might be the next stage of a personalized MS therapy ...

The currently available therapies to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) are limited in precision and may result in serious side effects. Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have now developed a method for identifying the immune cells involved in autoimmune diseases, and have identified four new target molecules of potential relevance for the future personalised treatment of MS.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that usually develops between the ages of 20 and 40. The disease is characterized by immune cells that mistakenly attack the brain and spinal cord. MS is present in some cases, with neurological apologies, difficulty walking and balance, and deteriorating vision. There is currently no treatment, but only medications that decrease relapse rates and alleviate symptoms.

Currently developing MS treatments are quite discriminatory in their impact on the immune system, which is susceptible to complications such as infections, according to Mattias Bronge, a PhD student at the Karolinska Institutet Department of Clinical Neuroscience. Future therapies are more efficiently directed towards the immune cells that drive the disease. These results will result in higher efficacy and less side effects.

Gronlund and his colleagues have developed a method to identify T cells that react to certain target molecules called autoantigens. The present study reveals four new autoantigens that can be added to the handful of previously identified in MS and will have an significant impact on future diagnostic and treatment success.

According to Hans Gronlund, our method allows to produce these autoantigens in a manner that allows us to identify and subsequently disable the T cells that react to them.

Understanding that MS patients may respond to different autoantigens is essential to identify each patient''s disease-driving immune cells. This technique of producing personalized treatment is called precision medicine.

Described as a patient''s individual autoantigen profile, a treatment may be adapted accordingly, according to Dr Gronlund. Depending on whether or not we can find a way to target them in autoimmune diseases, we may lead to more precise treatments that will result in less side effects for other autoimmune diseases. Through our extensive collaboration with Professor Roland Martin, our approach will be included in a phase 2 clinical study that aims to steer clear of aggressive T cells that lead MS development and development.

63 proteins were studied in blood samples from MS patients and healthy controls, four of which demonstrated autoimmune reactivity in MS; FABP7, PROK2, RTN3, and SNAP91. The tested proteins were combined with the Human Protein Atlas and Professor Torbjorn Graslund at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and the study was conducted by KI, KTH, and Region Stockholm.

Vinnova, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Brain Fund, Neuro, the Margareta af Uggla Foundation, Stratneuro, and Region Stockholm have funded this study. Hoss Gronlund, the author ofNEOGAP Therapeutics, has patented the method used and jointly holds the patent for the autoantigens featured in the study with Mattias Bronge. Co-authors Claudia Carvalho-Queiroz, Ola B. Nilsson, Andreas Kaiser,

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