Dr. Massimiliano Cristofanilli and Team Succeed in Three-year Effort to Create Model of Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Tisch Center is excited to announce that a team led by Dr. Massimiliano Cristofanilli has succeeded in a three year effort to create a model of progressive multiple sclerosis.  Currently the widely used experimental model of multiple sclerosis known as EAE best mimics relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). Use of the EAE model has resulted in many breakthroughs in MS but most of these do not apply to progressive disease.  Perhaps because of this there is a relative lack of understanding the mechanisms underlying disease progression in MS and few effective treatments.  Availability of a disease model for progressive MS would help change this dismal outlook for patients with secondary and primary progressive MS.  In a landmark study supported in part by funding from the Emerald Foundation the research team from Tisch MS announced that they had created a new model of progressive MS.  The study entitled “Progressive multiple sclerosis cerebrospinal fluid induces inflammatory demyelination, axonal loss, and astrogliosis in mice” is authored by Dr. Cristofanilli along with his research team of  Hannah Rosenthal, Barbara Cymring, Daniel Gratch, Benjamin Pagano, Boxun Xie, under the overall supervision of  Saud A. Sadiq, MD is published in the journal Experimental Neurology.  The model was created by directly injecting human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) derived from patients with progressive MS into the CSF “pockets” of mice brain.  This resulted in typical lesions of MS forming in the animal brains with immune cells, loss of myelin and nerve damage. This unique model may now be employed to discover the underlying events that lead to these pathological changes as thus better understand disease activity and progression.  In addition, this model could be used to evaluate MS patient treatment outcomes in mice and to guide customized therapeutic regimens, which could ultimately lead to the development of specific therapies targeting PPMS and SPMS.

Dr. Massimiliano Cristofanilli’s Emerald Foundation Grant, awarding him $75,000 per year for three years, has been renewed for its second year. The grant supports the establishment of an animal model of progressive MS.

Exp Neurol. 2014 Aug 8. pii: S0014-4886(14)00248-9. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2014.07.020. 

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