The mRNA technology that BioNTech has developed for the coronavirus vaccine is now being evaluated to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. Scientists believe it will be able to fight against the symptoms and also prevent the disease from advancing any further.
The CEO of the company, Ugur Savin is the head of the research project. Started in 2008, the company has been focused on researching to produce cures for diseases, including cancer. In 2020, it switched all its efforts on developing the coronavirus vaccine.
The Chair of the Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences Department from John Hopkins University spoke on the matter, saying that this is the first time this technology was being employed to develop a vaccine.
As described by Mayo Clinic, Multiple Sclerosis is essentially an autoimmune disease where the tissues of a patient’s body are attacked by the immune system, damaging the fatty material that serves as protection for the nerve fibers contained in the brain and spinal cord. As a result, the patient suffers from serious mobility problems. No cure has been developed for the condition as of yet.
The treatments that exist currently aim to prevent the immune system from performing its job, however that can be dangerous because then patients are more susceptible to other dangers such as infections.
Another treatment of MS employs monoclonal antibodies. This works by infusing an mRNA and the goal is to allow the body to produce antibodies itself. Sahin and his team have published the research they conducted on mice, which shows that the mRNA vaccine proves to be successful.
An inflammatory immune response was not observed among the mice, and all symptoms of MS were fought against by the vaccine.
The vaccine has proved to reduce the symptoms of the disease in mice and also prevented the disease from advancing in mice that had only begun showing early symptoms.
The team has explained that they’re still conducting trials on mice currently so it’s going to take some time before the vaccine might be released. However, they are hoping they can receive more funding for research after publishing their studies.
They have also talked about how this technology can be used to develop treatments for several other diseases like cancer and HIV. This is because the mRNA vaccines can be produced rapidly and designed for any autoantigen.