Claire: How likely is substantial myelin repair in this lifetime?
Dr Anna Williams, Neurologist: Well, that’s an interesting one. I guess we don’t know. There has been a trial, which was reported quite recently, but I don’t think it was substantial. So I think there was an indication that it was doing something, but I guess time will tell.
Claire: Is that something that is being funded widely, or is that something that we need to make people more aware of that needs funding?
Dr Anna Williams: I think there is a lot of funding going into myelin repair, because it’s been realised that, or recognised that it’s one of the essential problems that we need to address. And I think companies are starting to move that way, so there’s been recently an Anti-LINGO trial and I guess following up from that there are other trials on clemastine I know of and a couple of other ones that I know of. So there are a few studies ongoing and in terms of the experimental work there’s kind of lots and lots and lots, you know, in the last two years I know 50, 60 targets that I know of that can get good myelination and maturation of the oligodendrocytes. So I think there is a lot of potential, it’s a question of how we sort out the hierarchies of which ones or which ones we need to do, because it might not be this one single switch, it might be two or three, because myelination kind of requires signals to co-ordinate it, so we probably might have to trigger more than one thing to actually get it to work effectively. So that’s kind of what we have to work out with, and that’s probably why it’s not going to be a quick fix, which obviously things are never a quick fix, but we hope.
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Dr Anna Williams is Professor of Regenerative Neurology at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine. She has published multiple works focused on MS and its treatment. Her recently research has focused on T Cells effects in myelin and brain lesions. She gained her PhD at the university of Edinburgh.