Does cell ageing cause progression in MS?

Test tubes

Dr Richard Nicholas

Imperial College London



About the project

Progression in MS is strongly associated with age, and this innovative project will test the idea that cell ageing is responsible for progression of disability.

As we get older, all our individual cells age too. Damage to a cell’s DNA builds up over time, and this can stop the cell dividing - a process called senescence. We know that DNA damage is accelerated by inflammation, and that senescent cells themselves can contribute to this damage. 

Our researchers have shown that there is a build-up of senescent cells in lesions in mice with an MS-like condition. In this study, they want to understand if this increase in senescent cells is responsible for the build-up of disability seen in progressive MS.

How will it help people with MS?

Slowing, stopping or even reversing disability progression is our number one priority.

If we can identify a new process that explains progression then we can start developing treatments to target it. It could also be used to develop tests that help predict when someone’s MS will become progressive.

The difference you can make

There are currently no treatments available to help repair damage caused by MS. We need to support innovative projects like these if treatments are to become a reality.

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