eClinical Technology and Industy News

New gene therapy being developed at University of Toronto could treat MS

Excerpt from the Press Release:

Canada has one of the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the world — a chronic condition for which there is no cure. But a new research breakthrough at the University of Toronto has the potential to improve the lives of those living with the disease far beyond current medications.

A research team led by neuroscientist Maryam Faiz has developed a “reprogramming technology” that converts cells involved in the progression of MS in the central nervous system (CNS) into cells that promote functional recovery.

Faiz explains that there are three main types of cells in the CNS: astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons.

“Astrocytes and oligodendrocytes are part of a class of cells that can make more of themselves in the brain, and neurons are static,” she says.

Oligodendrocytes produce myelin — the insulating coating that wraps around nerve cells and is really important for fast neuronal transmission or fast signalling within the brain. In some cases, some astrocytes become “neurotoxic,” attacking and degrading the myelin.

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