Élucidation des mécanismes immunitaires impliqués dans des maladies autoimmunitaires démyélisantes

 

Manu Rangachari

Université Laval

 

Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2018-2019

The goal of our research is to study the causes of multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the brain and spinal cord that affects 1 in 300 Canadians. In MS, cells of the immune system confuse tissues of the brain and spinal cord for a bacteria or virus, and attack it. This results in destruction of nerve cells, and can cause paralysis, mood disturbances, difficulty in learning and in bladder or sexual disturbances. There is no cure for MS. While there are a number of drugs available for the "early" stages of MS, there are no effective drugs for the "late" progressive form.

In my lab, we want to study how the immune system is involved in the progressive form of MS. We do so using animal models that mimic the paralysis seen in MS patients. We have 3 separate projects in the lab.

In the first project, we are attempting to study how an individual's sex can impact progressive MS. This is because while women develop MS more frequently than men, men often have more severe disease.

In the second project, we are studying a protein that we think can reduce the actions of T cells, a type of immune cell that is extremely important in MS.

In the third project, we will try to understand how we can manipulate T cells so that they become less toxic to the body's own tissues.

Together, this research will help us in the future to develop new drugs that can help patients with progressive MS.