In order to facilitate rapid translation of discoveries to new therapies, their efficacy has to be demonstrated in animal models of the disease followed by safety studies and clinical trials in humans. Much of this also requires the use of efficient equipment and technology to monitor the progress of, for example, cytokine levels, during drug therapy.
Animal drug trials:
The main purpose of this project is to lay the groundwork for clinical studies investigating interventions for autoimmune demyelinating conditions of the central nervous system. Based on our research on the pathogenesis of TM and MS, we have now uncovered a critical pathway relevant to the understanding of the pathophysiologic mechanism that leads to tissue injury in TM and MS.
Our goal is to further this understanding with in vitro and in vivo studies in rodent models of TM and MS and other autoimmune diseases, while studying the role of therapeutic interventions by dose response studies of drugs such as thalidomide, erythropoietin and statins. The ultimate objective of this research project is to begin clinical trials using new drugs in the acute phase of transverse myelitis and multiple sclerosis.
Therefore, this research study will provide the fundamental groundwork to further our understanding of the pathogenesis of TM and MS and development of new therapies.
Clinical trials in neuroprotection and immunomodulation:
- Neuroprotection: Testing the neuroprotective effects of potential therapeutic agents that may include; erythropoietin, phosphodiesterase type IV inhibitors, immunophilin ligands, or ion channel blockers in Phase I/II clinical trials.
- Immunomodulation: These clinical trials will involve the development of novel immunomodulatory therapies and testing through the development of monoclonal antibodies. We will also develop and test the immunomodulatory properties of Kv1.3 antagonists which may block critical myelin memory immune effector cells.
Major equipment is critical for us to carry out this collaborative research. Major equipment purchases and upgrades are excluded from traditional grant applications. We will need cutting edge proteomics, imaging, spectroscopy and microscopy equipment in order to complete the projects listed above.