New treatment for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis on horizon

U-M leads worldwide MS clinical trial

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a major autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the insulating
membranes (myelin) that surround the nerves within the central nervous system. MS onset is generally at the prime of life, between ages of 15 and 45. More than 500,000 people in the U.S. have MS, and there are 10,000 new cases every year. The University of Michigan Health System is actively involved in finding newer, better treatments for MS—and its related diseases.xray blog

As a physician and researcher in the area of multiple sclerosis (MS), I am often asked if there are new treatments and medications on the horizon. Thanks to years of research, the answer is yes, and I’m pleased to say that the University of Michigan is a major leader in some of the most important issues surrounding MS today. We’re trying to find the links between MS and other autoimmune diseases. We’re also conducting a new clinical trial and mechanistic study that may uncover a new treatment for secondary progressive MS. Approximately 85% of patients with newly diagnosed MS have relapsing-remitting MS . About 10-15 years after diagnosis, 50% of these patients will develop secondary-progressive MS , which is associated with significant disability. Finding a new treatment for this large group of people will make a significant impact on people’s lives. We’ve recently been given the tools to combat a disease that is a leading disabler of young adults.

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What Causes Ulcerative Colitis Flares?

uclersWhat causes Ulcerative Colitis (UC) flares is a mystery that University of Michigan researchers are working to solve.

It’s a challenging topic to study because flares can be unpredictable. We do know that when someone with Ulcerative Colitis has a specific infection, a Clostridium difficile infection, often called c.diff, they have a 50 percent chance of developing a flare in the next 180 days. We are studying why some people experience a flare and some do not.

C.diff infections are treated with antibiotics, which affect the normal diversity of bacteria in the gut. It’s believed that those who have flares do not reconstitute a normal level of bacteria in their gut after the treatment. Without that healthy balance of bacteria, they are more prone to a flare.

If we can determine exactly what is causing flares in this specific situation, we may be able to create a probiotic to help prevent those flares. We’re just getting started with this research and expect to be done in three years.

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