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Impact of Brain Cells on MS

MRF is focused on understanding more about the cellular communication in the brain because we believe it’s the key the most promising next generation MS treatments that focus on repairing myelin.

Brain Cells and MS

The five major types of cells in the brain shown in the graphic below each have distinct and critical functions:

In a healthy brain, all of these cells communicate with each other in “positive / healthy conversations.” However, in people with MS, it appears these positive conversations break down.

This may be happening because the cells in the brain can’t get over the “inflammatory insult” of MS and as a result, they establish a toxic environment that inhibits any healing. In other words, there are no “positive conversations” that could promote myelin recovery and repair.

Monitoring Cell Conversations (EVs)

There is evidence that these conversations between cells can be monitored by examining extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the blood. Think of extracellular vesicles as emails sent between cells.

This graphic illustrates cell to cell communication via EVs (“emails”).

EVs are attracting considerable interest in the scientific community and are the focus of much of the research that MRF is funding. If we can use blood samples to “read” these EV messages, then we can uncover what might be blocking “positive conversations” in people with MS.

Here is an actual image of EVs on the surface of a cell.

From Concept to Clinical Trials to Treatments

MRF’s vision is to use EVs as a biomarker to determine the effectiveness of new treatments. By monitoring EVs, we can see if a treatment is resulting in “positive conversations” and thereby the healing of diseased cells.

Because we can monitor these EVs through a simple blood test (rather than more invasive methods), clinical trials can be more focused and faster – and provide specific information for the various types of MS.

Learn how our MRF-funded research is working to identify key MS treatment biomarkers.

Focus on Biomarkers

The Myelin Repair Foundation is identifying biomarkers to help accelerate myelin repair treatments.