Sydney: Blocking a
protein that contributes to acute nerve damage could halt the
development of debilitating Multiple Sclerosis (MS), says a new
Some of MS symptoms are blurred vision, eye ache, blindness,
partial or mild paralysis, jerking and twitching muscles,
tingling, buzzing and vibration sensations, male and female
impotence, irregular bowel movements, swallowing problems, etc.
MS is estimated to affect up to 2.5 million people worldwide. The
disease tends to strike early in adulthood, with women three times
more likely than men to be diagnosed for it, the journal Brain
Scientists from the Monash University's Immunology and Stem Cell
Lab (MISCL), Universities of Toronto, Yale and Western Australia,
have demonstrated the key role played by the collapsin response
mediator protein 2 (CRMP-2) in the development of MS.
Led by researchers Steven Petratos from MISCL and Claude Bernard,
the research team found that a modified version of CRMP-2 is
present in active MS lesions, which indicate damage to the nervous
system, in a lab model of MS, said a university statement.
The modified CRMP-2 interacts with another protein to cause nerve
fibre damage that can result in numbness, blindness, difficulties
with speech and motor skills, and cognitive impairments in
When either the modified CRMP-2 or the interaction between the two
proteins was blocked, the progression of the disease was halted.
Richard Boyd, director MISCL, said the discovery could lead to new
treatments for MS, "Blocking the same protein in people with MS
could provide a 'handbrake' to the progression of the disease."
Petratos said the method used to block the protein was approved
for the treatment of other disease conditions by both the US Food
and Drug Administration and Australia's Therapeutic Goods
"This should mean that clinical trials - once they start - will be
fast tracked as the form of administration has already been
approved," Petratos said.