Traumatic Brain Injury may Now be Treated Through Immune System
(the physiological barrier between the brain and its blood vessels), addressing the consequent brain inflammation through therapeutics becomes problematic.
To overcome these hurdles, the team has produced a novel therapeutic method using a targeted ‘gene delivery’ system for boosting the numbers of specialized anti-inflammatory immune cells specifically within the brain to restrict brain inflammation and damage.
Novel Treatment for Brain Injury
“Our bodies have their own anti-inflammatory response, regulatory T cells, which have the ability to sense inflammation and produce a cocktail of natural anti-inflammatories. Unfortunately there are very few of these regulatory T cells in the brain (due to a limited supply of the crucial survival molecule interleukin 2, also known as IL2), so they are overwhelmed by the inflammation following an injury. We sought to design a new therapeutic to boost the population of regulatory T cells in the brain (by allowing more IL2 to be made by brain cells), so that they could manage inflammation and reduce the damage caused by traumatic injury,” says Prof. Liston, Babraham Institute.
The novel viral vector technology efficiently crosses the blood-brain barrier to prove its therapeutic benefits. The drug’s potential for controlling brain inflammation was also successfully proven by the study team through their experimental mouse models of multiple sclerosis and stroke.
“By understanding and manipulating the immune response in the brain, we were able to develop a gene delivery system for IL2 as a potential treatment for neuroinflammation. With tens of millions of people affected every year, and few treatment options, this has real potential to help people in need. We hope that this system will soon enter clinical trials, essential to test whether the treatment also works in patients.” says Prof. Liston.