Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Take Two Proteins and Call Me in the Morning

People who know me, or those of you who have followed this blog long enough (and I thank you), know that I am easily amused and excited. I have maintained for almost 30 years that it is the little things in life that mean the most and that is why I can't recall the last time I was bored. I find something amazing every day in the world around me.

That being said, I am hard to impress when it comes to MS. I rarely get excited about news releases from drug companies or vitamin manufacturers about their latest "possible" treatments for MS. I don't write a lot about the stuff I read daily about "new" advances in treatments or cures. If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "I thought there was a cure for that" or "I thought that the drugs you take keep it at bay", I'd be a very rich woman. I call myself a skeptical optimist.

We are inundated with news releases or hyperbolic headlines screaming that we're "this close" to a cure for MS...or cancer...or social anxiety for that matter. I have a tendency to ignore most of what comes at me and do my own research about what is currently being studied, preferring to check out the websites of the researchers and/or their academic institutions.

I like to describe MS as a simple disease masquerading as a complex one. On the larger scale, MS appears to involve the central nervous and immune systems; it appears to involve the endocrine system (as evidenced by hormonal and metabolic fluctuations affecting MS symptoms); it appears to be affected by genes and environment. All these systems interact with and are affected by each other. So at first glance, MS appears to be rather complex.

But break it down and you get the simple explanation. Myelin gets destroyed and the body reacts to that. Simple. I like simple.

I have said before that I believe the answer to MS will be a simple one. Some silly dime store vitamin supplement. Or hookworms (read previous posts about parasites for more info on that). Or a food additive that creates protection for myelin without destroying other parts of our bodies.

So when I read about a study with a relatively "simple" hypothesis and results with a relatively "simple" solution, I get excited. Here's the story.

Take two normal run of the mill proteins, stick em together, sprinkle them on the immune cells, then give those cells to sick animals, and they get better. Kind of like, take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

OK, so I realize that things aren't as simple as I like to make them out to be. It can't be a simple process to fuse the two proteins together. But I think you know what I mean when I say "simple".

The point of all this rambling? This study is one I can get excited about.


1 comment:

Lazy Julie said...

I think we're all pretty excited about this one. I, for one, have mouse envy.