Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Font Size

New Kind of Therapy Shows Promise in MS Patients

Approach may shield patients' immune systems to allow safer treatment, study suggests

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Brenda Goodman

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- A new therapy for multiple sclerosis that teaches the body to recognize and then ignore its own nerve tissue appears to be safe and well-tolerated in humans, a small new study shows.

If larger studies prove the technique can slow or stop the disease, the therapy would be a completely new way to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes.

Most treatments for MS and other autoimmune diseases work by broadly suppressing immune function, leaving patients vulnerable to infections and cancers.

The new treatment targets only the proteins that come under attack when the immune system fails to recognize them as a normal part of the body. By creating tolerance to only a select few proteins, researchers hope they will be able to cure the disease but leave the rest of the body's defenses on guard.

"This is important work," said Dr. Lawrence Steinman, a professor of neurology at Stanford University who was not involved with the study.

"Very few investigators are trying therapies in humans aimed at simply turning off unwanted immune responses and leaving the rest of the immune system intact to fight infections -- to do surveillance against cancer," Steinman said. "The early results show encouragement."

For the study, published in the June 5 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers in the United States and Germany recruited nine patients with MS. Seven had the relapsing-remitting form of the disease, while two others had secondary progressive MS (a more advanced phase). All were between the ages of 18 and 55, and were in good health except for their MS.

Blood tests conducted before the treatments showed that each patient had an immune reaction against at least one of seven myelin proteins.

Myelin is a white tissue made of fats and proteins that wraps nerve fibers, allowing them to conduct electrical signals through the body. In MS, the body attacks and gradually destroys these myelin sheaths. The damage disrupts nerve signals and leads to myriad symptoms, including numbness, tingling, weakness, loss of balance and disrupted muscle coordination.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
woman applying lotion
Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
woman pondering
Get personalized treatment options.
man with hand over eye
Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
brain scan
worried woman
neural fiber
white blood cells
sunlight in hands
marijuana plant
muscle spasm