Multiple Sclerosis Society Collaborative Center Grant
Aug 27, 2017 12:00 AM
Led by Tom Lane, several University of Utah investigators were recently awarded a Multiple Sclerosis Society Collaborative Center Grant that will fund MS research for the next 5 years.
The long-term goal of the University of Utah’s Collaborative MS Research Center is to identify novel approaches to inhibit demyelination and promote remyelination in MS patients. Experimental objectives will be to define mechanisms associated with disease progression and repair using well-established preclinical models of viral-induced demyelination. Establishment of a Collaborative MS Research Center within the University of Utah School of Medicine has brought together established investigators within the field of MS and viral models of demyelination (Dr. Tom Lane, Dr. Robert Fujinami, Dr. John Rose, Dr. Noel Carlson, and Dr. Jeong) as well as new investigators (Dr. O’Connell and Dr. Round) with the ultimate goal of evaluating therapeutic strategies for treatment of MS patients. The proposed Center comprises an interactive, interdisciplinary, multi-departmental infrastructure promoting basic science research into the mechanisms of demyelination and remyelination that will interface with MS clinicians, thereby directing novel findings into potential clinical trials. The Center will encompass the expertise of clinicians and scientists in neuroscience, immunology, radiology, the microbiome, and pathology, and will actively work to incorporate additional expertise to inform the future treatment of MS.
Dr. Lane (Professor, Pathology and PI of grant) will characterize the therapeutic potential of human and mouse inducible pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural precursor cells (NPCs) following transplantation into mice infected with either JHMV or TMEV. Dr. Fujinami (Professor, Pathology) will define the therapeutic potential of LDK (a small molecule that has reparative/neuroprotective effects in EAE) in JHMV and TMEV-infected mice. Dr. Rose (Professor, Neurology) and Dr. Carlson (Research Professor, Neurobiology & Anatomy) will assess modulation of oligodendrocyte viability in response to inflammation and oxidative stress using JHMV and TMEV infection models. Dr. O’Connell (Associate Professor, Pathology) will assess how mircoRNA 155 affects neuroinflammation and demyelination in TMEV and JHMV-infected mice. Dr. Round (Associate Professor, Pathology) will employ TMEV and JHMV infection of germ-free (GF) mice to characterize how the microbiome influences immune responses and disease progression following viral infection of the CNS. Finally, Dr. Jeong (Professor, Radiology) will direct a small animal imaging core facility and work with all investigators to image spinal cord demyelination and remyelination related to specific projects. Collectively, these projects have the potential to identify and evaluate mechanisms associated with disease progression and promising neuroprotective and regenerative therapies with the long-term goal of clinical testing in MS patients.