2.5 million people worldwide suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, with 400,000 people in the United States alone. A lot of research is being conducted to help patients alleviate symptoms associated with M.S., but not nearly as much research is being completed on finding the cure. Dr. Metcalfe out of Cambridge University of England is making a lot of headway in this area of research.
Dr. Metcalfe’s research is focused largely on autoimmune disorders and has application to M.S. Dr. Metcalfe is attempting to use stem cell particles called LIF in her research. These stem cell particles would essentially turn off the body’s auto-immune cells and help repair the brain. The stem cell particles would also protect the brain and spinal cord, which are areas heavily affected by M.S.
The biggest obstacle that Dr. Metcalfe is currently facing is the fact that these stem cell particles can only survive outside the cell for 20 minutes before being broken down by the body. This, of course, creates a problem for therapeutic uses of the cells. Dr. Metcalfe has discovered that nanoparticles could be the answer to this problem, as they can be used as a delivery system for the stem cell particles and get to the affected areas of the brain quicker. Dr. Metcalfe is currently looking for research funding and hopes to have clinical trials of the therapy by 2020.