Is TSPO a good target for neuroprotection?

Image shows immune cells in MS

Professor Sandra Amor

Queen Mary, University of London


About the project

In MS, the immune system damages the myelin coating around nerves, leaving them exposed. This makes nerve cells vulnerable to damage, which is the main cause of disability in MS.

Research has shown that a type of immune cell found in the brain, called microglia, can help to prevent nerve cell damage and promote myelin repair. In progressive MS however, these cells not only fail to protect nerves from damage, but can also start to damage nerve cells themselves.

Our researchers will test if a protein produced by microglia, called TSPO, can protect nerves from damage. A drug that activates TSPO has already been identified, but we need to show that TSPO is neuroprotective in an animal model before we can test the benefits for people with MS.

How will it help people with MS?

If targeting TSPO is found to reduce nerve cell damage, then we can develop clinical trials for a new treatment based on this mechanism. This has the potential to slow or stop the worsening of disability for people with all types of MS.

The difference you can make

The race is on to find therapies that will slow progression. You can help speed up the process by helping to fund projects like this.

The next research breakthrough is in reach

Your donation will help stop MS.

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£30could process one blood sample, giving researchers crucial information about genes and the immune system.

£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.

£100could pay for half an hour of MRI use, so researchers can monitor the success of clinical trials and understand MS in more detail.

Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

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£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

£20a month could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying genetics

£30a month could process a blood sample to help us understand what causes MS, so we can stop it in its tracks

Your regular donation means we can keep funding world class MS research with confidence. Together we will stop MS.

MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette