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Prof. Niels Hellings and Prof. Laurent Gillet

Epstein Barr-virus and MS: new tricks from an old dog. Does imprinting of inflammatory monocytes provide an answer?


€50,000/ 2 years
UHasselt, Biomedical Research Institute and Université de Liège

 We look for the answer to the question: How do herpesviruses contribute to the development of multiple sclerosis and is preventive vaccination a possible solution to eliminate this risk factor?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex disease that arises under the influence of genetic, immunological and environmental factors. Although no MS-specific virus is known, epidemiological studies have shown that the Epstein-Barr herpes virus (EBV) increases the risk of developing MS up to four times. How this virus influences the development of MS is not sufficiently known. Current research focuses on the involvement of the adaptive immune system. In this project, for the first time, we investigate whether the involvement of the innate immune system can offer a better explanation. Knowledge of this project can be important for the development of new measures to reduce the risk of developing MS, for example by developing a preventive EBV vaccine.