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Immune cell conversion may hold key to new MS treatments

9/3/2014

University of Bristol researchers have learned how to turn immune system cells from aggressors into protectors. The discovery could hold the key to approaches to treating multiple sclerosis that avoid the use of immune suppressive drugs and their side effects.

Using a technique previously applied to allergies, scientists in the UK selectively targeted cells in mice that cause autoimmune disease. By introducing fragments of proteins normally attacked by the immune cells, and gradually increasing the dosage, they corrected the immune system, converting aggressor cells into protector cells.

The technique called allergic desensitization served as the basis for the research. Scientists hope the discovery may eventually lead to new widespread treatments of autoimmune diseases such as MS in humans.

The study was published in Nature Communications.



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