November 25, 2019

Slowing progression of multiple sclerosis by blocking the molecule ALCAM

SUMMARY: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system (CNS). Evidence suggests that B cells (B lymphocytes), a part of the immune system, play a role in multiple sclerosis (MS) disease progression. A number of effective MS disease modifying therapies deplete B cells, providing evidence for their role in this process.In this study, researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) and colleagues demonstrate that the molecule, ALCAM (activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule), adheres to a subset of B cells and drives their migration across the blood-brain barrier in mice and humans, a barrier that normally protects the CNS against harm. ALCAM is found at higher levels in people with MS. Additionally, the presence of ALCAM-B cells in the CNS correlates with disease development. By blocking the ALCAM molecule to prevent its action or by reducing its presence in cells, researchers found reduced migration of B cells into the CNS and reduced disease severity in mice. Overall, this research obtained from in vitro human and in vivo mouse studies, has identified a new mechanism and potential therapeutic target for multiple sclerosis.

Research study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicinelink.

An interview with Dr. Alexandre Prat (CTV News) on ALCAM findings - see link