Specialists of the NTI Competence Center on the premises of Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry (IBCh RAS) developing a drug to treat MS plan to complete the third stage of drug testing by the end of 2020. This was reported to TASS by Alexey Belogurov, author of the scientific work, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Biomedicine at the Central Scientific and Technical Institute, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of RAS, Doctor of Chemical Sciences.
As a method of treatment, the researchers suggested that protein fragments considered as exogenous by the immune system are introduced into the body in a special way. The new approach “forces the body to reach ‘a peace deal’”, explains the IBCh RAS representatives. After the treatment, the body no longer recognizes its own cells as exogenous and regards them again as its own. Patients from several Russian clinical centers participated in the drug testing.
Supported by the Russian Science Foundation, IBCh researchers are also engaged in development of an alternative method for treating MS based on targeted (point) therapy, which is currently actively used in the treatment of cancer. However, unlike cancer cells, autoreactive cells arising in patients with MS are much more difficult to distinguish from healthy ones.
In multiple sclerosis, the human immune system damages the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, which are responsible for sending impulses to the body. Symptoms may be various and mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or sever, such as paralysis or blindness.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information USA (NCBI), 2.5 million people worldwide live with this chronic disease attacking the central nervous system. Women are 3 times more likely to get MS than men, and the patients’ age ranges from 20 to 40 years. And almost 10% of young patients had an onset of their MS under 18 years of age.
Findings from the authors of the study estimate more than 200 thousand people in Russia are living with MS.
The IBCh RAS NTI Competence Center is among the 14 Competence Centers of the National Technology Initiative dealing with the biotechnology development issues. Each of the centers brings together universities, research centers and innovative companies to create end-to-end technologies that will be in demand in new global markets in 15-20 years.
Russian Venture Company acts as an operator of the NTI Competence Centers is.