An experimental treatment has yeilded incredible results in mice with a disease similar to multiple sclerosis.
The new treatment, named GIFT15 puts MS into remission by suppressing the immune response. This means it might also be effective against other autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease, lupus and arthritis, the researchers said, and could theoretically also control immune responses in organ transplant patients. Moreover, unlike earlier immune-supppressing therapies which rely on chemical pharamaceuticals, this approach is a personalized form of cellular therapy which utilizes the body’s own cells to suppress immunity in a much more targeted way.
GIFT15 was discovered by a team led by Dr. Jacques Galipeau of the JGH Lady Davis Institute and McGill’s Faculty of Medicine. The results were published August 9 in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine.
GIFT15 is composed of two proteins, GSM-CSF and interleukin-15, fused together artificially in the lab. Under normal circumstances, the individual proteins usually act to stimulate the immune system, but in their fused form, the equation reverses itself.
“GIFT15 can take your normal, run-of-the-mill B-cells and convert them … into these super-powerful B-regulatory cells,” study team leader Dr. Jacques Galipeau, of the Jewish General Hospital Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and McGill University in Montreal, said in a university news release.
He and his colleagues took normal B-cells from mice and sprinkled GIFT15 on the B-cells. “And when we gave them back intravenously to mice ill with multiple sclerosis, the disease went away,” Galipeau said.
The treatment was fully effective with a single dose, and no significant side effects were seen in the mice, the researchers reported.
Their findings were published online Aug. 9 in Nature Medicine.