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Brit Scientist Could Be About to Cure Multiple Sclerosis

September 20, 2017

Dr. Su Metcalfe and her team at LIFNano believe they have found the cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), making one of the most important medical breakthroughs of recent years. She was working at Cambridge University’s department of surgery when she made her discovery. She says she was “looking to see what controls the immune response and stops it auto-attacking us.” From there, she “discovered a binary switched, controlled by a LIF, which regulates inside the immune cell itself. LIF is able to control the cell to ensure it doesn’t attack your own body but then releases the attack when needed.” LIF is a stem cell particle. According to Metcalfe, she explains that LIF also plays a major role in keeping the brain and spinal cord healthy, along with tissue repair.

Although Metcalfe made this discovery, LIF could only survive outside the cell for 20 minutes before being broken down by the body, meaning there was not enough time to deploy it in a therapy. However, this is where the technology, in the form of nano-particles, comes in. “They are made from the same material as soluble stiches, so they’re compatible within the body and they slowly dissolve,” says Su. "The nano-particle itself is a protective environment, and the enzymes that break it down can’t access it. You can also decorate the surface of the particles with antibodies, so it becomes a homing device that can target specific parts of the brain, for example. So you get the right dose, in the right place, and at the right time.”

LIFNAno has already attracted two major funding awards from drug firm Merck and the Government’s Innovate UK agency. The company hopes to attract more investment with the aim of starting clinical trials in 2020.