In a major breakthrough in the battle against multiple sclerosis (MS), scientists claim to have identified a chemical that triggers the devastating disease and found a way to stop it in its tracks. Researchers at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, found that the immune system chemical called GM-CSF is the “driving force” behind the debilitating condition that affects over 2.5 million people worldwide.
MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, or the central nervous system. The condition, which can cause blindness and paralysis, has no cure at present and the drugs available are not suitable for all. But the Swiss researchers claim that an antibody, which they tested on mice with a MS-like condition, was found to be very effective in countering GM-CSF and improved their health, the Daily Mail reported.
Although the experiments were on mice, the researchers said they were “quietly optimistic”. Prof. Burkhard Becher, who led the study, says: “It is relatively easy to stop mice from getting the disease, so we waited until they had the disease and were pretty sick. This is similar to the clinical situation—patients don’t go to the doctor because they think they might get MS, they go when they have MS.”
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