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Indianapolis Insurance Companies and MS

Indianapolis insurance companies, through Chambers Roper, try to stay on top of medical testing being done, in the hopes that they will be able to identify the next “new” drug or treatment that will benefit their customers. Currently, there is promising testing being done in the area of remyelinating nerve cells.

There are some diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, that cause the myelin that surrounds nerve cells to degenerate. This is called demyelinating. The myelin is the protective cover around nerves. As the nerves send electrical impulses between the brain and the various systems of the body, the insulation around the nerves – myelin – keeps them from basically short-circuiting. Myelin is formed by cells referred to as oligodendrocytes, and it is these cells that are damaged by diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. In this disease, as in many others, the body’s own immune system targets parts of the body, treating it as an interloper. In this case, Multiple Sclerosis triggers the immune system to attack its own nerve cells, stripping them of myelin.

If the myelin becomes damaged, the nerves can no longer send signals properly. They are also more prone to damage. Compare it to the difference between an insulated wire draped through a puddle of water, and an uninsulated wire draped through a puddle of water. The insulated wire, even though there may be a shock hazard involved, will still convey its electrical impulse to the desired location. However, if the wire is stripped of its insulation, the electrical impulses are released into anything that comes into contact with the wire – in this case, a puddle of water. Not only is the electricity not delivered to the desired destination, it produces widespread damage to anything around it.

A research team from the California Institute of Technology thing they have found a way to provide the brain with ways to replace its oligodendrocytes and, thereby, repair its own myelin. Published in The Journal of Neuroscience, the studies show that in mice, researchers have developed gene therapies that use stem cells and progenitor cells to trigger the formulation of oligodendrocytes. Indianapolis insurance companies are eagerly following this development, because it may be a major breakthrough in helping patients with these problems.

The therapy is based on a natural protein produced by the body. Called the leukemia inhibitory factor, or LIF, this protein causes the self-renewal of the stem cells that make up neural pathways. It also reduces the attacks of the immune cells that destroy the myelin in the first place. In the research done with mice, the LIF is administered, and not only has to see the brain begin to produce more oligodendrocytes, but it produced them at a faster rate than with other techniques. It stimulates the brain to form mature myelin generating cells, as well. The significance is that the cells that produced myelin not only proliferated, but they knew what they were supposed to do. In many research cases, scientists have to program the cells at every step.

Indianapolis insurance companies know that this therapy is far from approval by the FDA, but look forward to its success.

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