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Taking a Shot at MS

Canadian and U.S. scientists are excited about early results of an experimental vaccine called BHT-3009 for multiple sclerosis. Some 400,000 people in the United States have this incurable degenerative disease of the central nervous system. The injection produces an immune response that seems to disable cells that attack myelin, the protective sheaths around the nerves of the brain and spinal cord. The small study showed that the vaccine was well tolerated and produced beneficial changes to the immune system. MRI scans also showed reduced inflammation. Lead researcher Amit Bar-Or, MD, of McGill University’s Montreal Neurological Institute, cautions that more research is needed; a trial with 290 patients is nearly finished. Researchers are hopeful that the approach could also be used to treat other autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes. Available: In 5+ years