The currently available therapies to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) are inadequate in detail and can lead to serious side effects. Researchers at the Swedish Institute of Medicine have developed a technique for identifying immune cells involved in autoimmune diseases, and have identified four new target molecules for a future personalized treatment of MS.
MS is a chronic inflammatory condition of the central nervous system that usually develops between the ages of 20 and 40. It is driven by immune cells that mistakenly attack the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. MS is currently associated with neurological symptoms, such as sensitivity to walking and balance, and a loss of vision. There is currently no cure, but more therapies are available to alleviate symptoms.
Current MS medications have been quite discriminated in their effect on the immune system, which may lead to complications, according to Mattias Bronge, a PhD student at the Karolinska Institutet''s Department of Clinical Neuroscience. Future treatments may therefore be more effective and less beneficial.
Gronlund and his team have developed a method that allows to identify T cells that react to certain target molecules called autoantigens. The present study outlines four new autoantigens that can be added to the handful of previously identified in MS and will significantly contribute to future diagnostic and treatment.
According to Hans Gronlund, the clinologist says this technique helps to assist people identify and subsequently disable the T cells that react to them.
Considering that people with MS may respond to different autoantigens, it is important to identify each patient disease-driving immune cells. This is the technique used to create personalized treatment called Precision Medicine.
Depending on how a patient''s individual autoantigen profile is identified, a treatment may be adapted accordingly, according to Dr Gronlund. Ideally, we can provide a method for treating autoimmune diseases like MS, which could, in turn, lead to improved dosages. We will also develop more precise therapies with reduced side effects for other autoimmune diseases through our long-term collaboration with Professor Roland Martin at the University of Zurich.
63 proteins were analysed in blood samples from MS patients and healthy controls, four of which showed autoimmune reactivity in MS, according to the Human Protein Atlas and Professor Torbjorn Graslund. The results were performed 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.Hans Gronlund is the founder ofNEOGAP Therapeutics, which has developed the technique 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, and Guro Gaf