From : http://www.clevelandclinic.org/newslett ... &type=Home
Cleveland Clinic neuroscientists get grant to develop adult stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis.
The Department of Neurosciences at The Cleveland Clinic has received an $825,000 grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to further research in the area of stem cell biology as it relates to multiple sclerosis (MS), a debilitating disease of the central nervous system.
Bruce Trapp, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Neurosciences at the Clinic and the grant’s recipient, will lead a collaborative research effort to develop a small molecule therapy that uses adult stem cells to regenerate oligodendrocytes, the brain cells that are attacked in MS patients.
“What makes this grant so exciting is that it brings together two areas of research, stem cell biology and MS, that are now well-established at the Clinic,” Dr. Trapp said. “This award is a complement to the extensive research in the Department of Neurosciences as it pertains to MS.”
Oligodendrocytes make myelin, the protective layer and insulation surrounding neurons in the brain. In MS patients, the death of oligodendrocytes results in the loss of myelin, which causes brain lesions to surface. The small molecule therapy under development at The Cleveland Clinic is designed to prompt adult stem cells to make new oligodendrocytes. This, in turn, will create myelin to repair MS lesions.
Co-investigators involved in the small molecule therapy research are Wendy Macklin, Ph.D., of The Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Neuroscience; Andrei Gudkov, Ph.D., chairman of the Clinic’s Department of Molecular Biology; and Robert Miller, Ph.D., of the Case Western Reserve University Department of Neurosciences.
The grant from the Multiple Sclerosis Society will be awarded over five years starting in April.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissues in central nervous system. In MS, these attacks are aimed at myelin. The central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, is made up of nerves that act as the body’s control center .Each nerve has a fatty covering of myelin that serves as insulation, which helps in the transmission of nerve impulses (messages) between the brain and body. Once myelin has been damaged, normal nerve function is disturbed, and a number of symptoms can be experienced.