A team of research scientists has announced a major breakthrough in slowing or even halting the development of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).


In research published in the medical science journal Brain, scinetists from the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboraties, the University of Toronto, Yale and the University of Western Australia have demonstrated research that blocks the development of a protein that contributes to nerve damage, the key symptom of MS.


The research team found that a modified version of CRMP-2 is present in active MS lesions, which indicate damage to the nervous system, in a laboratory model of MS.


The modified CRMP-2 interacts with another protein to cause nerve fibre damage that can result in numbness, blindness, difficulties with speech and motor skills, and cognitive impairments in sufferers.


Director of MISCL, Professor Richard Boyd said the discovery could lead to new treatments for MS.


“Blocking the same protein in people with MS could provide a ‘handbrake’ to the progression of the disease,” Professor Boyd said.  


MS Australia estimates the disease currently affects over 20,000 people in Australia, and up to 2.5 million worldwide.