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Dr. Inez Wens and Prof. Nathalie Cools

BDNF-engineered Treg in MS


€38,715/ 2 years
UAntwerpen - Laboratory of experimental hematology

This project will lay the foundation for the development of a cell therapy, based on regulatory T cells, aiming to repair the damage that was induced by MS

Progressive MS is characterized by neurodegeneration. While most of the currently available MS-therapies act on the inflammatory response and thereby slow down the progression of the disease, only  a limited amount of treatment options focus on regeneration and nerve cell repair. Therefore, there is a unmet clinical need for regenerative treatment strategies, especially for progressive MS patients. This project will focus on a protein, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), that has the ability to repair neurological damage, due to its stimulating role during myelin sheath repair. In addition, recent research showed that specialized immune cells, regulatory T cells (Tregs), also play an important role in the repair process of the myelin sheath. These observations offer the opportunity to develop designer Tregs that are engineered to express BDNF, aiming to induce regeneration, and to exploit its potent effects. Our findings will contribute to the development of novel regenerative MS-therapies.