The nanoparticles are
made up of FDA-approved substance, a polymer called Poly (lactide-co-glycolide)
(PLG), comprising of glycolic acid and lactic acid, both being the natural
metabolites of the human body.
different sizes were tested by the researchers and it was realized that 500
nanometers was ideal for modulating the immune reaction.
In multiple sclerosis,
the myelin sheath is attacked by immune system, thus damaging the lining of the
nerve cells in spinal cord, brain, and optic nerves.
When the insulation is
destroyed, the transmission of electrical signals is hampered. This
interference leads to symptoms ranging from limb numbness to blindness or even
The disease relapses
in around 80 percent of patients with multiple sclerosis.
According to the
researchers, unlike current therapies for multiple sclerosis, nanoparticles do
not inhibit the whole immune system; therefore, the patients are not exposed to
The scientists injected nanoparticles attached to myelin in
mice and it was seen that the immune system reverted back to normal. The immune
system stopped identifying the myelin as foreign agent and ceased its assault
the nanoparticles were filtered in the spleen..
were ingested by a type of immune cells called macrophages. The nanoparticles
were assumed as ordinary blood cells by the immune system so the immune system
did not react with the released nanoparticles with the attached myelin. This
led to the suppression of activity of myelin responsive T cells and an
enhancement of the number of regulatory T cells, which can further calm the autoimmune
Stephen Miller stated,
"This is a highly significant breakthrough in translational immunotherapy." He
added, "The beauty of this new technology is it can be used in many
immune-related diseases. We simply change the antigen that's delivered."
Professor Miller said,
"The holy grail is to develop a therapy that is specific to the pathological
immune response, in this case the body attacking myelin."
The scientists said
that their approach returned the immune system back to normalcy and it did not
attack the myelin sheath. Therefore, the functioning of immune system remains
Lonnie Shea, the
Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern's McCormick
School of Engineering and Applied Science, invented these nanoparticles.
mentioned, "We administered these particles to animals who have a disease very
similar to relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and stopped it in its
"We prevented any
future relapses for up to 100 days, which is the equivalent of several years in
the life of an MS patient."
The scientists are
evaluating the effectiveness of nanoparticles in treating respiratory airway
diseases and type 1 diabetes
Christine Kelley, the
Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
division of Discovery Science and Technology at the National Institutes of
Health, which supported the research, was of the opinion, "The key here is that
this antigen/particle-based approach to induction of tolerance is selective and
targeted. Unlike generalized immunosuppression, which is the current therapy
used for autoimmune diseases, this new process does not shut down the whole
concluded that their study was successful in ensuring the importance of
technologies in simplifying the treatment for the patients with multiple
sclerosis and other autoimmune ailments.
The research was
financially supported by the Myelin Repair Foundation and National Institute of
Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health and
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
1. Nanoparticle shows
promise in treatment of multiple sclerosis. Gizmag
2. New nanoparticle halts multiple sclerosis,
now being tested in Type... Phys.