Irish team develops non-invasive MS and arthritis treatment

17 Feb 2015

Fluorescent imaging shows the cellular target (the red spot) for marvel molecule MCC950. Image via Rebecca Coll

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) are making a name for themselves after they revealed they have discovered a ‘marvel’ molecule to aid in the non-invasive treatment of common inflammatory diseases.

Publishing their findings in the medical journal Nature Medicine, their discovery of the molecule labelled MCC950 has been found to be capable of suppressing the ‘NLRP3 inflammasome’, which is an activator of the key process in inflammatory diseases, particularly multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, motor neuron disease and Muckle-Wells syndrome.

In partnership with universities in Queensland, Michigan, Massachusetts and Bonn, the TCD scientists’ discovery of this molecule is believed to represent a major development among the medical science community to find treatments, which have so far shown to be either highly ineffective or have major limitations, for these inflammatory diseases.

Most importantly, their finding also confirms that inflammatory diseases all share a common process, even though the part of the body becoming inflamed might differ. This commonality can pave the way for a one-fits-all style treatment process.

When produced en masse, MCC950 can be taken orally and will be significantly cheaper than the current ineffective protein methods that exist and which are taken through injections on a regular basis and, most importantly, will spend less time in the human body thus reducing the risk of side effects.

“MCC950 is blocking what was suspected to be a key process in inflammation. There is huge interest in NLRP3 both among medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies and we feel our work makes a significant contribution to the efforts to find new medicines to limit it,” said Dr Rebecca Coll, lead author on the paper.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic