A new treatment from the Scripps Research Institute in Florida has been found to halt multiple sclerosis in mice, raising hope that a similar method may be applicable to humans.
A compound has been developed that shuts down a white blood cell, TH17, which malfunctions in people with multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
"In these autoimmune diseases, the body is tricked into attacking itself," said Dr Tom Burris, a professor in the Department of Molecular therapeutics at the Scripps Research Institute.
"Right now, the treatments that are out there suppress the entire immune system, and that comes with a lot of side effects."
It is presently unclear whether the compound cures or simply stalls the disease, but it is so promising that it has garnered a good degree of interest from drug companies.
Recently, French drugmaker Sanofi said an experimental multiple sclerosis drug has cut relapse rates by 55 per cent over two years, compared with another leading treatment.
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