It might not be long before a vaccine for multiple sclerosis is made available. Following the promising results of a multiple sclerosis vaccine trial in a small group of patients, PharmaFrontiers, a leading pharmaceutical company is all set to test it's vaccine on a large scale.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the myelin sheath, surrounding the nerve fibers in the spinal cord and brain is destroyed. Owing to destruction of this protective sheath, the transmission of nerve impulses to the brain is affected. Approximately 2.5 million people are afflicted by the disease, every year.
The vaccine contains inactivated myelin-specific T cells, normally found in the immune system. These cells are produced in the laboratory by radiation treatment of the extracted, multiplied and processed T-lymphocytes. The cells are then re-injected back into the patient, activating the immune system. It has been known from previous trials that re-injection of the modified T-cells eliminates the damaged nerve cells.
In some cases, the immune system also attacks the normal cells, leading to complications. In view of the above drawback, the researchers have been urged to be cautious by MS experts, who point out to other vaccine trials that have been ineffective.
The new vaccine trial would compare the progress of the disease among 100 people who have already received the vaccination with the control group (not vaccinated). It is believed that if the results of the earlier study were replicated, it might even be possible to attenuate or stop the disease progress.