Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the world’s most common neurological disorders being in many countries, the leading cause of non-traumatic disability in young adults. MS is a demyelinating disease where the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms including physical, mental and sometimes psychiatric problems.
MS is diagnosed frequently between ages of 20-40 years being more frequent in women than in men (2:1 ratio up to 3:1 ratio in most recent reviews).
MS takes several forms with new symptoms either occurring in isolated attacks (relapsing forms) or building up over the time (progressive forms)
RRMS, the most common disease form, is characterized by clearly defined attacks of worsening neurological function. Most people who are initially diagnosed with RRMS will eventually transition to SPMS.
PPMS is characterized by steadily worsening neurologic function from the beginning. About 105 of people with MS are diagnosed with PMS being considered as a “rare disease”. Finally, the least common of the four disease courses is PRMS characterized by a progressive disease from the beginning with occasional exacerbations along the way.While the cause of MS is still unknown, the underlaying mechanism is thought to be either destruction by the inmmune system (activation of T cells) or failure of the myelin-producing cells (oligodendrocyte apoptosis).
(a) Activated T cells migrate into the CNS (1) and initiate inflammatory events, including recruitment of blood born macrophages, activation of local microglia and release of toxins. This leads to myelin destruction, oligodendrocyte death and clearance of damaged tissue by phagocytes (2).
(b) Viruses, glutamate and other agents can cause extensive oligodendrocyte apoptosis (1) generating large amounts of myelin debris (2), which triggers an inflammatory response. T cells and macrophages invade the CNS (3) and initiate a autoimmune attack of myelin (4).
Until now, all the therapeutic approaches pursued for the treatment of MS have been considered the activated T cells as the main etiology fact. The working hypothesis considered by the ANKAR PHARMA research team is to avoid or delay the oligodendrocyte death.
Currently, MS has not an effective cure but several drugs have been approved to reduce disease activity and progression for many people with relapsing forms of MS. Intensive research is needed to find a treatment for the progressive forms of MS. The main goal of ANKAR PHARMA is to help drug discovery process in this field.