Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently announced a new discovery which could potentially lead to a new multiple sclerosis (MS) therapy. This research has been published in Cell Host & microRNA.
What this team found is a specific microRNA which increases during the peak of disease. It’s called miR-30d. This was discovered using a MS mouse model. First, they transferred fecal matter from some MS mice to others, and it successfully prevented disease. It doesn’t really make sense- why would something present during the peak of disease help to also prevent disease?
They had to do another study.
They created a synthetic oral version of the microRNA and gave this to the mice. The microRNA again successfully prevented disease.
So how exactly does it work?
microRNA is a very precise therapy and researchers believe it has promise as a potential therapeutic for not only MS but diabetes, obesity, cancer, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It works by regulating the microbiome of the gut. This specific microRNA was found to encourage a bacteria called Akkermansia muciniphila to flourish. This bacteria has anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it increased the regulatory T cells present in the gut which helped to suppress MS symptoms.
There’s clearly much more research that needs to be done on this potential therapeutic but the researchers are extremely optimistic by these preclinical results. Hopefully, the therapy will be able to be translated into human clinical trials soon to further evaluate both safety and efficacy for MS patients.
You can read more about this incredible discovery here.