Promoting myelin repair
in the brain
Project Grant over two years commencing 2019, fully funded by the Trish MS Research Foundation
Investigator: Dr Simon Murray
The University of Melbourne, Victoria
Co-investigator: Dr Jessica Fletcher
Methods to promote the rebuilding of myelin after myelin loss are essential to prevent the progression of disability in MS. Dr Simon Murray and his team have identified that a growth factor produced in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), promotes myelination during early development of the brain. They believe it may also be useful to help maintain and repair myelin after injury in the adult brain.
Dr Murray and his team have been using a compound which copies the actions of BDNF and have shown that it promotes myelin renewal in basic laboratory models of MS. This project will take the next step in this line of research to see if the compound can promote myelin repair in an environment which more closely mirrors the situation we see in people with MS. They will use a more complex model of myelin damage: where spontaneous remyelination does not occur and where there have been repeated episodes of myelin loss, reflecting the conditions that might occur in people with MS.
The outcome of this project will help identify whether this compound might ultimately be useful as a drug to stimulate myelin repair in people with MS.