A new therapy against myasthenia gravis tested in rhesus monkeys

29 May 2017

BPRC - 1. A new therapy against myasthenia gravis tested in rhesus monkeys

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease in which antibodies disturb the transmission of electrical signals from the nerves to the muscle; This causes weaknesses of the muscles. BPRC researchers have contributed to research into a new therapy for this disease.

In Myasthenia gravis, antibodies bind to parts of the body involved in movement at the site where signal transmission takes place from nerve to muscle (synapses). This can lead to serious muscle problems. BPRC scientists have contributed to a study that was designed to test in a monkey model whether the attack of these antibodies on the own body could be counteracted.

To this end, newly developed antibodies that prevented binding of the "wrong" antibodies were used.  These antobodies act by  blocking the binding sites of the "wrong" antibodies in synapses without causing disease. The monkeys treated in this way proved to have significantly less disease symptoms compared to untreated animals.

Combined with the relatively long half-life of these antibodies in the body, this provides good perspectives for use in the clinic. In addition, this form of blockade may be used in other autoimmune diseases. The results of this work were described in the scientific journal Scientific Reports (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-01019-5)