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GAEM promotes two research projects to find a new treatment for multiple sclerosis

By 17 de March de 2010November 18th, 2020No Comments
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GAEM promotes two research projects to find a new treatment for multiple sclerosis

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital and the Blood and Tissue Bank (BST acronym in Spanish) is working on the development of a treatment strategy for remittent relapsing multiple sclerosis based on the transplant of the patient's own cells. Divided into two projects, the study of this new form of treating the disease emerged from an initiative of the GAEM Foundation (Group of People with Multiple Sclerosis), with headquarters at the Barcelona Science Park.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune degenerative pathology in which the patient’s own immune system attacks the myelin sheaths that surround the fibers of the central nervous system (brain, cerebellum, optical nerves, brain stem and spinal cord). This results in damaged myelin sheaths, leading to nerve lesions and movement, memory or visual problems which worsen over time, given that at present there is no cure for this disease. The experts from the Germans i Trias and the Blood and Tissue Bank are working to battle this autoimmune disease and prevent myelin destruction.

One of the two projects that are underway is CELLTRiMS, which began last year and aims to use a type of stem cells from the patient in order to stop rejection to their own myelin. These stem cells are the so-called mesenchymal cells, which are obtained from the bone marrow and that have the capability to differentiate and reproduce indefinitely. These cells are known for their immunomodulating action and are present in the blood, but the objective of the researchers is to extract them from the bone marrow and introduce them into the blood in much larger amounts than usual in order to stop the destruction of myelin.

Mesenchymal cell transplant has already been approved as a treatment for other pathologies, so once this step has been finalized the team from the Badalona hospital hopes to initiate clinical trials for the treatment of multiple sclerosis this year.

The other project is called TOLERVIT. In this case, the objective is to transplant dendritic cells, which are directly involved in myelin rejection and destruction, to the patient. Treatment consists of retrieving these cells from the patient and modifying them by inserting a type of proteins and Vitamin D to prevent myelin rejection. They are then returned to the patient. At this time the product is in the final steps of development and will subsequently be presented to the Spanish Drug Agency. If it is approved, clinical trials will be initiated.

In addition to GAEM, the Multiple Sclerosis Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital, which is part of the Centre’s Neurosciences Department, the Laboratory of Immunobiology for Diagnostic Research and Applications (Lirad) and the Division of Advanced Therapies of the Blood and Tissue Bank are also participating in both projects.

Both projects are funded by means of public and private grants given by organizations such as the Carlos III Institute, the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Marathon Foundation of TV3, amongst others.