More MS news articles for September 2000

Researchers in Bristol believe they could develop a vaccine for multiple sclerosis within five years.

A team at Bristol University is confident it has discovered how MS and other diseases of the immune system, like diabetes and arthritis, can be tackled.

Now team-leader Professor David Wraith says the treatment, which would be administered by a nasal spray, is ready to move from the laboratory stage to clinical testing.

"It is just satisfying that we have got to a point where we can ask the big question 'Will it work in patients?'," said Prof Wraith, who has been working on MS for 15 years.

"We have been studying every single element of this - how it works, the best route of administration and so forth. Now it is time to really take it into practice."

MS, which affects more than 80,000 people in the UK, is a disease caused by the immune system attacking the sheaths which cover the nerves in the brain.

Prof Wraith said the treatment was based on introducing agents into the body which prevent the immune system acting in this way.

He said: "There are components of the immune system that act like military police guarding against the aberrant response which cause MS and other diseases."

"What we believe we can do is to build up the strength of these through this treatment."

He said the radical breakthrough was the discovery these agents could be absorbed into the body through the membranes of the nose or the gut whereas they would normally be rejected if introduced in more conventional ways.