Summary: When injected with the new mRNA vaccine, mice with multiple sclerosis-like symptoms developed less severe symptoms than would normally occur.
Source: Multiple Sclerosis Trust
Researchers have developed a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis which uses technology similar to two of the Covid-19 vaccines.
German researchers injected messenger RNA (mRNA) into mice with an MS-like condition. The mRNA had been amended to instruct certain cells to produce substances similar to myelin, the fatty protein which acts as insulation for nerve cells. In MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the myelin. The aim of this study was to induce the immune system to tolerate myelin, rather than attack it.
The researchers found that when the mRNA was injected into mice with MS-like disease, the mice developed less severe disease than would normally occur.
The research uses similar technology to two of the Covid-19 vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) but used in a different way. Instead of using a vaccine to prime the immune system to recognise and fight off an infection, this approach uses the vaccine to teach the immune system to tolerate (or ignore) myelin.
So far, this approach has only been tested in mouse models of MS. The results are encouraging but translating a treatment from the MS-like condition in mice is not straightforward. Further research will need to study whether it is effective and safe in humans. However, the technology shows potential, and we will be keeping a close watch for any further developments.
About this multiple sclerosis research news
Source: Multiple Sclerosis Trust Contact: Press Office – Multiple Sclerosis Trust Image: The image is in the public domain
A noninflammatory mRNA vaccine for treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
The ability to control autoreactive T cells without inducing systemic immune suppression is the major goal for treatment of autoimmune diseases. The key challenge is the safe and efficient delivery of pharmaceutically well-defined antigens in a noninflammatory context.
Here, we show that systemic delivery of nanoparticle-formulated 1 methylpseudouridine-modified messenger RNA (m1Ψ mRNA) coding for disease-related autoantigens results in antigen presentation on splenic CD11c+ antigen-presenting cells in the absence of costimulatory signals. In several mouse models of multiple sclerosis, the disease is suppressed by treatment with such m1Ψ mRNA.
The treatment effect is associated with a reduction of effector T cells and the development of regulatory T cell (Treg cell) populations. Notably, these Treg cells execute strong bystander immunosuppression and thus improve disease induced by cognate and noncognate autoantigens.