Myelin repair is among the most promising methods being researched to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). Myelin repair technology could be less than a decade away according to Dr. Aaron Boster, founder of The Boster Center for Multiple Sclerosis, who spoke at MyMSTeam’s Oct. 7 Q&A event.
“One of the hallmarks of MS pathology is demyelination, where you lose the myelin,” said Boster, a neurologist and MS expert. “So remyelination — where you put the myelin back on — would be awesome. It turns out that biologically that's very, very, very hard to do, but we're working on it.”
For people with MS, the body attacks its own central nervous system (CNS) — specifically the myelin, a substance that coats the nerves. By damaging the myelin sheath of the CNS, MS can cause such symptoms as muscle weakness, numbness, and vision problems. That’s why repairing the myelin would be an important step in treating MS.
Although the technology hasn’t yet progressed far enough to make remyelination therapies available, researchers are working in earnest to develop them. “It is a massive, international collaborative effort right now, desperately trying to find a remyelinating agent,” Boster said during the event. “Many of the top researchers in the field feel like we're probably five years out, maybe less than 10 years out, which is really — in the world of science — very soon.”
Boster has been involved in a few research projects studying remyelination, and he shares in the optimism that associated therapies aren’t far off. “I believe a sports analyst once said, ‘If we keep banging on the door, one day, we'll knock it down.’ And I think that we will. So I do think that we'll have a remyelinating agent sometime in the next decade.”
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