T-cell research paves way for potential new MS therapies

Researchers have characterised a new type of T-cell which produces a substance that contributes to the autoimmune response in multiple sclerosis (MS), paving the way for further studies and potential therapies.

The researchers studied T-cells called ThGM which produce granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), a chemical that contributes to the autoimmune response. They already suspected these cells may be linked to autoimmunity because they had been found in increased amounts in the blood and brains of people with MS, but not a lot is known about their function.

In this study, the scientists created a mouse model for MS and discovered ThGM cells were increased in the nervous system. They also noted that the cells induced encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord) which is a sign of disease development in mouse-model MS.

Further research is now underway to further characterise the ThGM cells in humans. The scientists hope the research will lead to the development of therapies which target this population of T-cells, while leaving other T-cells alone, which would avoid heavy immunosuppression.