Washington, Nov 1 (ANI): US researchers have discovered that blocking a certain enzyme in the brain can help repair the brain damage associated with multiple sclerosis and a range of other neurological disorders.
The discovery could have major implications for multiple sclerosis, complications from premature birth and other disorders and diseases caused by demyelination - a process where the insulation-like sheath surrounding nerve cells in the brain becomes damaged or destroyed.
Demyelination disrupts the ability of nerve cells to communicate with each other, and produces a range of motor, sensory and cognitive problems in MS and other disorders.
"What this means is that we have identified a whole new target for drugs that might promote repair of the damaged brain in any disorder in which demyelination occurs," lead researcher Larry Sherman, Ph.D., who is a professor of cell and development biology at Oregon Health and Science University and a senior scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, said.
"Any kind of therapy that can promote remyelination could be an absolute life-changer for the millions of people suffering from MS and other related disorders."
Sherman cautioned that the discovery does not necessarily signal a cure for MS.
Many other factors can contribute to the problems associated MS and other demyelinating diseases, he said.
But discovering the actions of this enzyme - and finding a way to block it - "could at the very least lead to new ways to promote the repair of brain and spinal cord damage either by targeting this enzyme alone or by inhibiting the enzyme in conjunction with other therapies."
The study was published this week in the online edition of the Annals of Neurology. (ANI)