Scientists make important MS find
Researchers believe they may have found a "missing link" in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Scientists said they have discovered a new molecule that could lead to a drug treatment to repair the damage caused by the disease.
The molecule is able to stimulate stem cells to repair myelin, the fatty material that coats and insulates nerves.
Damage to myelin can cause the symptoms of MS but there are currently no treatments to repair it.
The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, was carried out by scientists at the University of California San Francisco and the University of Cambridge, and funded by the MS societies of the US and UK.
Robin Franklin, Professor of Neuroscience at Cambridge and co-author of the study, said: "There are currently no treatments that repair damage to myelin caused by MS, which is a missing link in the treatment of the condition.
"This discovery means we now have even more credible opportunities to promote myelin repair, which is a really promising step forward.
"Our efforts will now be focused on translating these findings into treatments for people with MS."
Dr Doug Brown, head of Biomedical Research at the MS Society said: "Myelin repair holds real potential to prevent or even reverse the devastating effects of MS. We've made a significant investment in myelin repair research in recent years and are delighted to see this investment starting to pay dividends.
"We are excited to see this work moving towards clinical trials and are hopeful that this will lead to a new form of treatment for people with MS within the next 10-15 years."