In this incubator project, Prof Shaun McColl and colleagues tested new technology to produce molecules that could be used to treat MS, and aimed to stabilise the molecules so they would be more effective in treating MS. Previous research carried out by Prof McColl has shown that a class of small proteins control the movement of the damaging white blood cells into the central nervous system (CNS). Therefore the goal of this research project was to find new molecules that could target these proteins and prevent the migration of these into the CNS.
Prof McColl and his team used a new technology to produce a novel protein that blocked the interaction between signalling molecules and proteins on the surface of the damaging white blood cells in MS. In particular, Prof McColl was looking for proteins which blocked interactions with CXCR4, a surface protein that responds to signalling molecules in the bloodstream in MS. The new protein produced was more effective than the previous generation of CXCR4 blockers, with the new protein binding more effectively to CXCR4 and remaining stable for a longer period of time.
When this new protein was tested in a laboratory model of MS, the protein inhibited the development of disease. This work paves the way for the identification of more and perhaps better therapies for MS.
Updated: 3 July 2013
Updated: 03 January, 2011