Our group has discovered that autoimmune disorders in general are severely under researched. Before we start taking steps towards curing these disorders, we should focus more on researching the workings of specific autoimmune disorders.
We think that a possible way to study MS could be using the silk scaffolding. Silk scaffolding is already being used to study human axons and conditions like Parkinson’s, so why not use it to study MS and its effects on the human nervous system?
Not only would further research in autoimmune diseases, and MS, deepen our understanding of them and how they work, but it would also make finding effective treatments easier. How can you hope to treat the underlying causes of a disorder to try to cure it without knowing exactly what causes it?
Furthermore, our hope is that using the silk scaffolding could also allow us to study possible treatments before they reach human trials to determine whether or not they are effective, and what possible side effects they may have.
The traditional means of diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has largely relied on the manifestation of symptoms and joint damage. Furthermore, the treatment of RA generally relies on a trial and error method with different medications because many different treatments don’t work for a lot of different patients. However, a recent study from the United Kingdom has identified four biomarkers that may help diagnose RA as well as predict the effectiveness of methotrexate as a treatment method for patients (Shervington, et al 2018). Because methotrexate was original designed as a cancer treatments and essentially kills parts of the immune system in hopes that it grows back healthy, the possibility of predicting whether or not it will be an effective treatment for a patient without them having to take it is an important advancement in the RA field. Personally, the use of methotrexate and other cancer drugs as treatments for RA is something that I would like to see dissipate in the coming years and I hope that this study will be an important step in the right direction.
Shervington, L., Darekar, A., Shakh, M., Mathews, R., Shervington, A. (2018) Identifying Reliable Daignostic/Predictive Biomarkers for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Biomark Insight. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30262983
In my last post, I discussed a treatment for multiple sclerosis that promotes axon remyelenation that was in the first stages of clinical trials. A more recent article discusses multiple treatments that have some remyelnating properties that are currently furhter along in the clinical trial process, as well as others that are currently in the development phases (Kremer, et al 2018). While most of the treatments the article discusses were not intended to treat multiple sclerosis by promoting remyelination, they have found that some of these treatments that were meant to treat other things may be used to treat multiple sclerosis as well (Kremer, et al 2018). Possible remyelination in multiple sclerosis is an exciting and hopeful new treatment method because it could possibly reverse the damage from previous attacks or relapses and combat future bouts as they occur.
Kremer, D., Akkermann, R., Küry, P., Dutta, R. (2018). Current advancements in promoting remyelination in multiple sclerosis. Sage Journals. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30270725
Our project is centered around autoimmune disorders. More specifically, we want to look at both Multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. While they are both autoimmune conditions, they affect the bodies in different ways. Rheumatoid Arthritis primarily affects the joints and causes inflammation and bone cartilage damage within the joints. Meanwhile, multiple sclerosis affects the nervous system, including the brain, and causes the demyelination of nerves. While these two diseases may appear to have nothing in common other than that they are caused when the immune system begins attacking the body, they share one other important similarity, neither of them are curable and they is no way of reversing the damage caused by either disorder.
There are some studies that have seen promising results in the regeneration of tissues affected by these disorders. One such study has found a possible treatment for multiple sclerosis that is currently in the first stage of clinical trials (Vala et al 2018). The study has found promising results in the stimulation of axon remyelination (Vala et al 2018). While there are far less promising studies in the reparation of tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis, one study found that mesenchymal stem cells may be a possible treatment in the future because they can not only “develop into joint tissues,” but also have “immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory qualities” (Leigheb et al 2018). I’m hoping to explore the existing treatment options for the two autoimmune disorders, as well as the possible application of innovations like tissue engineering as possible ways of reversing damage they cause.
Vala, M., et al. (2018) Surface plasmon resonance sensing on naturally derived membranes: A remyelination-promoting human antibody binds myelin with extraordinary affinity. Analytical Chemistry. Retrieved from https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.analchem.8b02664
Leigheb, M., Borrone, A., et al. (2017, October 18). Chondral tissue engineering of the rheumatoid knee with collagen matrix autologous chondrocytes implant. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29083361