This is Science Today. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
recently recommended the approval of a drug called
Novantrone to slow down the deterioration and relapse
rate of multiple sclerosis. The drug works by suppressing
certain white blood cells, including T-cells, which
are thought to attack the myelin sheath. This is
a fatty material that insulates nerve fibers in
the brain. Claude Genain, a professor of neurology
at the University of California, San Francisco,
says myelin destruction is the essence of the disease.
Genain: Because these fibers are no longer insulated, they can not conduct anymore the nerve impulses, which carry the orders from the brain to any part of the body.
Narrator: In his own line of research, Genain discovered the body's own antibodies play a direct role in the development of the disease. This finding can lead to another possible target for drug therapy.
Genain: But one has to remember that this
all happens in the context of a very coordinated
attack between T cells and antibodies against the
components of the brain and the myelin
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa