We wanted to take this time to thank all of our followers, new and old, who have continued to support MS4MS over the years. We also would like to thank our new beneficiary, The Johns Hopkins “Project Restore” MS Research Center, for their continued effort into finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. We are proud to be your partner and together, we are #spreadingORANGE!
Project Restore 2018 Update
Previously, we have discussed what Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is and the process referred to as demyelination that takes place as scar tissue begins to build up when the insulating and protective myelin that covers the nerves is damaged or destroyed. When this process takes place it distorts the signal from the nerve to the brain and body. Since we have connected with Johns Hopkins and the Johns Hopkins MS research center, there have been many cutting edge therapies and trials taking place to figure out the best way to treat MS patients.
One of the research updates taking place is called Myelin Remodeling through Experience Dependent Oligodendrogenesis. They use a cutting-edge technique called in vivo two-photon microscopy, which allows for long-term monitoring of living cells and their individual features in the intact brain. This research is done to find out if life experiences could change myelin, according to the Johns Hopkins Neurology website.
In this study, the cortex of a mouse brain was inspected to determine if this is true or not. This part of the brain contains more neurons than oligodendrocytes and myelin. The area in particular looked at is called the barrel cortex, which receives whisker sensor information. This study shows that half of the new oligodendrocytes precursor cells that populate the adult brain develop well past middle age in a mouse and that those cells that do survive are highly stable with their myelin sheaths rarely changed once established. According to the Johns Hopkins Myelin Remodeling study, all of this leads to the conclusion that intermittent myelination is an important feature of cortical neurons, but we do not yet know why these sparse bits of myelin are required by neurons.
When we talk about how life experiences could change myelin we’re specifically referring to a form of sensory enrichment therapy. The reason for this testing is to prove that if sensory enrichment therapy can work in mice then therefore it may be able to work in humans. The researchers at Johns Hopkins must better understand the mechanisms that stabilize these cells and are hopeful to learn more about this as the study has demonstrated that alterations in myelin patterns even in a mature brain are still flexible.
In addition to the Myelin Remodeling study, the MS Research Center team is looking into which treatments work best for MS patients. We’re talking about traditional versus early aggressive therapy for MS. This issue is referred to as the TREAT-MS trial. There is a need in MS trial strategies during the early stage of the relapsing-remitting phase to identify which therapies can prevent, delay, or reduce longer-term disability. Currently there is a lack of evidence-based guidelines to help clinicians and patients to determine the correct treatment strategy, according to Johns Hopkins.
The TREAT-MS Trial will help inform patients and the broader health care community on whether patients would most benefit from early, possibly more risky aggressive therapy or if starting with a less aggressive therapy is more beneficial. This is a randomized controlled trial that will recruit 900 patients across
45 different sites within the United States. Participants who meet the eligible criteria will be divided into two groups based on suspected risk for long term disability. For more information on this please visit the Johns Hopkins website hopkinsmedicine.org or e-mail TREATMS@jhmi.edu.
Lastly, we would just like to point out the new Infusion Therapy Center located at Pavilion II Green Spring Station in Lutherville, Maryland is now open. Patients who need infusion therapy will be able to relax in a facility that features 13 heated infusion chairs with a great view of the gardens outside. MS patients and others with neurologic conditions will find both comfort and convenience at the Johns Hopkins Neurosciences Consultation and Infusion Center. For full information and directions please visit hopkinsmedicine.org and search Green Spring Station.
Check back here on MS4MS.org for our end of the year update from The Project Restore and please contact us directly if you have any additional questions.