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Promoting Remyelination in Humans

Posted Dec 14 2010 12:38pm

As you might imagine, we’ve heard from many of you about the latest news from the University of Edinburgh concerning stem cells and myelin repair.  I’d like to take this opportunity to respond personally to those queries.

First, MRF-funded scientists have identified several targets that demonstrate similar potential benefit, including some that utilize stem cells.

Second, the operative language in the reports from Edinburgh is that this work has been demonstrated in animal models. In fact, all of the work, including our own to date, has made use of one or more animal models.

But we also know that historically, in MS, animal studies have translated poorly when advanced to humans.

Today there are no available tests to measure remyelination in humans. The absence of these tools is a critical, rate-limiting step to moving new discoveries safely into the clinic. That’s why the current MRF research plan includes a study that we hope will lead to answering this question. The ability to demonstrate and measure remyelination in human tissue will benefit all myelin repair research. And, once developed, we hope to make these tools available to others who wish to further test whether their own work in animal models will also work in human cells.

We applaud the work that is being done in Edinburgh and wish the best for all who are working toward solutions. We also want to assure you that your support is underwriting the most comprehensive and accelerated work in myelin repair for MS. We remain grateful for that support.

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