December 14, 2018
As we approach the end of the year I would like to thank you for your ongoing support. This has enabled usto continue work at full speed in the laboratory.
Our accomplishments this year have included:
- Continued work on the core problem of impaired control of immune responses by regulatory T cells. This finding is central to the development of autoimmunity and the subsequent chain of events leading to clinical activity as well as the neurodegeneration which results from inflammation in the nervous system.
- Development of a modified CHEC molecule which has greater potency than those used previously. This molecule has unique properties which restrain an overactive immune system as well as reducing cell damage from inflammation. Work continues to move this therapeutic into clinical trials.
- Expansion of our work on the JC virus ‐ which can spread to the brain causing PML, a serious complication of immune therapy in MS as well as other immune conditions.
- We originally found the JC virus to be expressed in circulating lymphocytes in 100% of those tested. Mostly the immune system keeps the virus in check. We have found during a period of Tysabri treatment that viral production is enhanced in lymphocytes but it decreases later. Work is in progress to sequence the genes of the virus – production of the virus in and of itself is not necessarily harmful, but mutations of the virus may confer the ability to infect the brain.
- As Tysabri treatment progresses, a mechanism is induced in lymphocytes to break down proteins of the JCvirus. This suggests that a molecular path is induced to check the virus and reduce the risk of PML developing. So, Tysabri treatment is likely to become safer with time.
We need all the help and support we can get to continue our research efforts to FIND, STOP and CURE MS. Please consider continued support of MSRI aswe approach the year end. Please remember that matching gifts are available in many companies.
My best wishes for a Happy Holiday Season and a happy and healthy new year.
Jeffrey I. Greenstein, MD