Wpg Free Press: U of M researchers battle MS from new angle
It’s potentially game-changing research that’s going on in our backyard.
And it’s sorely needed in the battle against multiple sclerosis — perhaps here in Manitoba more than anywhere else.
Manitoba has among the highest rates in the world of the MS — a disease in which the immune system attacks the nervous system for reasons that largely remain a mystery.
Homegrown work by one of the nation’s leading MS investigators aims to create a new form of treatment that could significantly slow down the disease — if not stop it in its tracks.
“We know that multiple sclerosis destroys the myelin sheath — a fatty protective layer that surrounds the nerve fibre,” says Dr. Soheila Karimi, who heads the Karimi Laboratory, a research program for spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and regenerative medicine at the University of Manitoba.
While current treatments are effective in reducing the body’s erroneous immune system response toward nerve tissue, her research team’s work involves a different approach.
“Most of the treatment options available tackle inflammation to reduce the impact of these attacks — the autoimmune attacks on the myelin sheath,” says Karimi, an associate professor in the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba.
So while available medication reduces injury to the nervous system, it does not repair the damage.
“But our research aims to actually repair the myelin that is gone around the nerve fibre.”
If successful, her work would represent a turning point in treating MS….