Methods Potentially Able To Cure MS (& Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.)Method I) The "antibodies against antibodies" method developed by R. Levy for treating B-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma with monoclonal antibodies whose binding sites have the exact shape to fit the binding sites of whatever antibodies are secreted by any given patient's lymphoma cells. Miller, Moloney, Warnke & Levy, New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 306, pages 517-522 (1982). Each malignant B lymphocyte secretes millions of duplicate antibody molecules, each of whose binding sites consists of the same (random) amino-acid sequence as the others. By generating monoclonal antibodies whose own binding sites exactly fit the binding site of the malignant B cells, these researchers succeeded in curing very advanced cases of lymphoma. To produce those cures, their monoclonal antibodies must have killed every single lymphoma cell in the patients' bodies.
To quote "Kuby's Immunology" sixth edition: A custom approach, targeting idiotypes requires a specific reagent for each lymphoma patient. This is prohibitively expensive and cannot be used as a general therapeutic approach for the thousands of patients diagnosed each year with B-cell lymphoma." Actually, it now costs less than ten thousand dollars to generate each new antibody-secreting clone of tissue cultured B-cells, in comparison with the hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient routinely charged for chemotherapy.
To treat MS by Levy's method would not require a new antibody-secreting clone of tissue culture cells for each patient. One single clone would probably be sufficient for all MS patients, or at worst a few dozen slightly differing B-cell clones might be needed, if there are differences between MS patients in the shapes of their anti-myelin antibody binding sites. It is a tragedy that no drug company has done this. How can we convince them to try?
Method II) "Vaccinate Against Anti-myelin Antibodies". A variation on #1, with the difference of stimulating patients to make their own antibodies with binding sites shaped so as to attach selectively to the binding sites of anti-myelin antibodies and T-cell receptors (thereby blocking the damage they do, and also killing the anti-self B and T cells.
Method III) "Activate The Normal Tolerance Mechanism" (Whatever that mechanism is.) that serves to weed-out (induce cell death, or inactivation) in all lymphocytes whose binding sites fit any molecule that they encounter in the body. To discover this weeding mechanism ought to be a "Holy Grail", but only a low% of biologists realize it exists.
More of them think the big mystery is why the body ever makes anti-self antibodies, while the real puzzle is what prevents everybody from producing lots and lots of anti-self lymphocytes.
Method IV) "Poisoned Antibody Method". Attach poisons to isolated oligodendrocyte myelin (either synthesized or extracted from animal brains), and inject it into the cerebrospinal fluid or the blood, so as to harm or kill any lymphocyte that binds to it.
Method V) "Sponging Away The Anti-Myelin Lymphocytes Method." Attach many molecules of oligodendrocyte myelin to elongate gels of polymers like surgical "sponges". Implant these sponges into the body cavity and cerebro-spinal cavities, so that anti-myelin lymphocytes attach to them; Then surgically remove the "sponges", thereby extracting these attached anti-myelin lymphocytes.
Other Methods) Lymphocytes have been claimed to be guided by chemotaxis; If that is true, then pellets containing their attractant substance could be surgically implanted somewhere they could pull lymphocytes away from the brain.
Keep the goal always in mind: Get anti-myelin lymphocytes away from the brain and spinal cord, by any means<.p>
Why Auto-Immune Diseases Haven't Been Cured. (And why so little progress?)A) Non-specific suppression of the whole immune system makes you vulnerable to germs. These germs will kill you if the inhibition of the immune system is too strong. Therefore, non-specific immune suppression can never succeed as a cure for autoimmune diseases (not just MS, but also lupus and rheumatoid arthritis). For treating rashes, mild suppression can be effective, but never for severe autoimmunity.
B) Nevertheless, almost all the drugs used to treat MS and other auto-immune diseases work by non-specific suppression of the immune system: antibodies against all B-lymphocytes, chemicals that trap lymphocytes in lymph nodes, etc. are described as "block-buster drugs", breakthroughs, "very promising", and claims like those.
As if to say, "Well that didn't work, so let's sell a new chemical that does the same thing as the old ones."
C) The one exception is randomly-synthesized artificial proteins, made from 4 amino acids. Nobody knows how it works, many doubt IF it works, and research isn't being done to improve it or to test ideas about its method of action.
D) Drugs that don't cure are nevertheless very profitable. The companies are not unhappy. Economic motivations don't help unless there is competition between alternatives.
E) The market for these drugs is described as "crowded" by New York Times reporters.
(lots of drugs that don't work, many of them different names for the same substances, or slight variations)
F) Many or most of the physicians making decisions about MS treatments are neurologists, not allergists/immunologists. This tends toward treating symptoms instead of causes.
On the positive side, let's try to invent methods that could actually succeed.