The American Academy of Neurology holds its annual conference next month. A number of MS trials will be reporting results etc. One of the key lectures is by Moses Rodriguez and looks very interesting:
Moses Rodriguez, MD, FAAN,Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Moses Rodriguez is a nationally recognized multiple sclerosis expert. He is Professor of Neurology and Immunology and holds the Mildred A. and Henry Uihlein II Professorship in Medical Research at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
Rodriguez earned his bachelor's and medical degrees at Northwestern University. He completed a residency in neurology at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. In addition, he served as a trainee at the National Institutes of Health and completed fellowships in neuropathology at the University of California, San Diego, and at Scripps Research Institute.
His research has focused on developing methods to reverse the deterioration of the central nervous system in multiple sclerosis, a debilitation by the destruction of the multi-layered sheath that surrounds nerve fibers called myelin. Remyelination, in essence, is the restoration of this protective tissue. Rodriguez and his colleagues have identified human antibodies that stimulate remyelination in laboratory mice. Their findings will soon form the basis of the first remyelination clinical trials in humans. He is also a member of a Mayo Clinic research team that identified Interleukin-6 as a human-produced hormone which may prolong neuron (brain cell) life. Rodriguez holds five US patents related to his fundamental medical discoveries.
"Natural Autoantibodies in the Treatment of Neurological Disease"
It has generally been thought that autoimmunity is harmful from the standpoint of neurological disease. However, there are a group of natural autoantibodies that are present in the germ line of all individuals that appear to be important in the control of infectious diseases and most recently have been shown to be important in the protection from neurological disease. This lecture will discuss the discovery of a new set of compounds, natural IgMs which are directed to surface antigens on oligodendrocytes. These antibodies cross-link molecules on lipid rafts on the surface of oligodendrocytes to induce down-stream signals to begin the myelination program. These natural autoantibodies have been shown to cross the blood-brain-barrier using MRI. These natural antibodies when injected into mice with an MS-like disease induced by Theiler's virus show extensive remyelination and CNS repair with functional improvement. These antibodies have now been cloned and sequenced and have been expressed to large quantity in a GMP by a facility at the University of Minnesota. The goal is to begin phase I clinical trials with these antibodies in the near future to test for the first time the potential to repair the central nervous system using natural autoantibodies. These findings provide great hope for patients with multiple sclerosis and other diseases that affect myelin (spinal cord injury, transverse myelitis, stroke, etc.) in that these natural compounds will likely be very safe and likely may be efficacious in reversing permanent neurological disability.