New multiple sclerosis treatment using B cell depletion therapy

By: Devon Andre | Health News | Friday, October 23, 2015 - 11:45 AM

Treatment for multiple sclerosis creates new hopeResearchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University have found that the often overlooked B cells may play a larger than expected role in multiple sclerosis (MS), which could shed light on better treatment. Current beliefs suggest that multiple sclerosis is controlled by T cells that attack the myelin. The new research has revealed the importance of the previously overlooked B cells, which are produced in bone marrow and essential to immune response. Now researchers have found how B cells, too, contribute to MS.

Senior author of the study, Amit Bar-Or, M.D., said, “We’ve recently discovered that different types of human B cells exist. Some B cells have been shown to promote inflammation, while others are actually able to limit inflammation. Our study has implicated a subset of B cells, the GM-CSF producing B cells, as a key contributor in the pro-inflammatory immune cells responses at play in MS.”

The study examined samples of multiple sclerosis patients in comparison to healthy patients. They found B cells were more frequent and more activated in multiple sclerosis patients than in healthy patients. The B cells cause pro-inflammatory responses of myeloid cells in the immune system. After B cell depletion therapy, myeloid cells became less-inflammatory, suggesting the therapy could decrease B cells and prevent new disease activity from occurring.

Dr. Bar-Or added, “The study is significant in discovering a new way by which B cells can contribute to abnormal immune responses in MS which reinforces the rationale for the use of B cell depletion therapy. Furthermore, better identifying the particular subset of B cells responsible for new disease activity, we can look forward to more selectively targeting the ‘bad’ B cells while leaving ‘good’ B cells intact. This is important because B cells normally play key roles in our immune system, so more selective therapies offer the prospect of decreasing the risk of impairing the patients’ immune system in the long run.”

Also read: Exclusive breastfeeding decreases risk of multiple sclerosis relapse
In multiple sclerosis, dietary fatty acids effect on gut immune system may affect progress


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