At Tisch MS we have several ongoing research projects. All investigations happening in the Tisch MS Research laboratory focus on learning more about this chronic disease and ways to end it or repair the damage it has caused. Browse this section to learn more about each project.
Preventing or reversing progression-related disability is a critical unmet need for MS patients. Scientists at Tisch MS have developed a novel cellular therapy aimed at promoting regenerative repair in progressive disease. The discovery of the regenerative properties of bone marrow MSC-NPs in the laboratory led to the only Phase I clinical trial of its kind in the United States to test freshly harvested MSC-NP cells administered intrathecally in multiple dosing regimens. Results showed dosing was well tolerated with only minor adverse events, and 15 of 20 subjects demonstrated functional neurological improvement. MSC-NPs are manufactured in the cGMP-compliant Regenerative Medicine Laboratory by isolating autologous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from the patient’s own bone marrow. The MSCs are then manipulated in the laboratory to make them into neural progenitor cells, which are MSC-NPs. A Phase II randomized placebo-controlled study is currently underway to test the efficacy of intrathecal MSC-NP treatment in patients with progressive MS. This is a double-blind study of 50 patients, all of whom will eventually receive treatment with MSC-NPs. In addition, scientists are currently investigating the mechanisms by which MSC-NPs target glial cell activation in laboratory models of MS.
A major focus of research at Tisch MS is to investigate the underlying causes of disease progression using innovative approaches based on comparative analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We have developed a novel experimental animal model of MS utilizing human CSF injection into the mouse spinal cord. PPMS-CSF injection recapitulates the hallmark disease pathology and motor disability seen in progressive disease, allowing researchers to identify which molecules in the CSF mediate the trajectory of progressive MS. In addition, Tisch MS researchers are developing personalized organoid models, or “mini-brains”, to better understand how genetic and environmental factors contribute to MS disease progression.
To discover the cause of MS, our researchers are looking into what B-cells in the immune system are attacking. We are attempting to answer questions such as if there is a particular protein in myelin that’s attacked? Is EBV involved in MS? Can we find the trigger of MS, if there is one? It is our hope that looking at MS B-cells and the antibodies they produce, will answer some of these questions and ultimately lead us to the cause of the disease.
Biomarkers are specific and sensitive assays that help in better diagnosis, assessment of disease activity, and measurement of treatment responses. Using CSF analysis, we can determine how active the disease is (Fetuin A level), how likely is it to progress (osteopontin), the degree of neuronal damage (neurofilament light), and the level of oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation levels). Together with a single B-cell analysis, for even the most complex patient cases, we can rationally decide on which treatment is most likely to be effective and how potent or aggressive therapy is needed.
You can find the latest published research articles and abstracts in the following sections.