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UMD-Led Research Could Point to New Targets for MS Treatments

Monday, March 22, 2021

University of Maryland (UMD) bioengineers reached a new milestone in their efforts to design an immunotherapy strategy to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases. The team’s findings, published this month in ACS Nano, used nanomaterials to manipulate inflammatory pathways that might one day help slow or reverse MS without compromising a patient’s immune system. 

Nearly 2.5 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS, an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to wrongfully attack myelin, the insulation that surrounds and protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. When this happens, nerve fibers and cells are damaged, leading to a loss of motor function and other neurological complications that greatly impact the patient’s quality of life.

Current therapies for MS non-specifically decrease the activity of the immune system to restrain the detrimental “attack,” but at a cost that leaves MS patients vulnerable to certain infections or illnesses, including some cancers.

Read the full story from the UMD Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices.