When immune cells attack…

A neuron wrapped in many layers of myelin
An electron microscopy image of a neuron wrapped in many layers of myelin

…it’s usually a good thing! Immune cells normally protect our bodies from foreign objects or marauding bacteria. Sometimes, this finely tuned protective machinery can go haywire. An example of this is the disease Multiple Sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is thought to be caused by confusion of a person’s immune system. Their immune cells mistakenly attack the protective coating of their nerves (myelin) and progressively strip it away leaving the nerves vulnerable and exposed. When someone has MS they often come to their doctor with symptoms of neurological dysfunction that can vary widely depending on what nerves have been damaged. They could have trouble walking or have a tingling pins and needles feeling in their arm. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure and most remedies are not effective in alleviating the progression of the disease. A new phase one clinical trial may provide some hope. Continue reading “When immune cells attack…”