SINGAPORE - Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered a new type of immune T helper cells that may help develop treatment for multiple sclerosis.
T helper cells help the activity of other immune cells by helping, suppressing, or regulating immune response.
The researchers, led by NUS medical school professor Fu Xin-Yuan and Doctor Sheng Wanqiang from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, found that the immune cells play a crucial role in the immune system and the development of neuronal inflammation.
Together with Dr Zhang Yong-Liang from the department of microbiology at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, the team found that the newly discovered T helper cells is programmed by the STAT5 protein. The T helper cells can recruit and activate other inflammatory cells to cause neuroinflammation, demyelination and nerve system damage.
The researchers' work show that if doctors are able to block the STAT5 protein, patients suffering from the autoimmune disease will benefit greatly from it.
The causes of multiple sclerosis are still unclear and the disease remains incurable, even as 2.5 million people in the world suffer from it.