North West | Technology & innovation

Russian researchers develop new multiple sclerosis solution

Collaborative researchers at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, St. Petersburg Municipal Multiple Sclerosis Center #31, and two private companies in St. Pete, Pharmasintez and Xenetic, have developed a new form of vaccine to treat multiple sclerosis, one of the deadliest neurodegenerative diseases of autoimmune nature. Results of the effort have been described in published in English-language Neurotherapeutics.

The key component of the new vaccine candidate is said to be liposomes that act like lipid bubble-like transporters containing fragments of myelin, a protein that structurally insulates nerve fibers. In an experiment, three protein fragments were selected. One revealed a certain therapeutic effect at the initial stages of the disease, while the other two can keep pathology at bay in a remission period. Lab research led the scientists to the conclusion that combinatory introduction of all the three fragments inside liposomes produces the best possible effect.

The vaccine candidates were tested in a series of clinical trials on healthy volunteers and multiple sclerosis patients in five sizable national centers in Russia. It is now known that the solution offers a good level of drug tolerance, and the likelihood of complications is fairly low.

With the project now past preclinical trials and two phases of clinical ones, the developers are hoping for success in phase 3, which would enable widespread use of the vaccine in multiple sclerosis therapy. There are more than 200,000 multiple sclerosis patients aged 15 through 25 in Russia.