Testing of a therapeutic antibody against MS like disease in marmosets shows two opposite effects

26 August 2015

BPRC - 1. Testing of a therapeutic antibody against MS like disease in marmosets shows two opposite effects

In a mouse model for multiple sclerosis (MS), a therapeutic antibody against a substance of the immune system, IL-7, was 100% effective in preventing disease. BPRC scientists determined whether this effect could be translated to primates.

In mice, artificially induced hyper-responsiveness of the immune system can lead to MS-like disease. In this mouse model, treatment with antibodies against IL-7, a component of the immune system, was in 100% of the animals effective, indicating an important function of IL-7 in disease progression. In contrast to mice, that are free from particular pathogens and are inbred, marmosets are outbred and have a pathogen milieu that resembles that of humans. To determine whether the 100% efficacy of the treatment could be reproduced in the marmoset model that has important human-like MS characteristics, MS-like disease was induced in marmosets and the effect of the IL-7 therapeutic antibody was assessed.           

In animals that developed MS like disease soon after disease induction, treatment was very effective as disease onset was delayed. However, in animals that poorly responded to the treatment, markedly opposite effects that caused pathological effects in the spinal cord were observed. This work, published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26260924), shows only partial replication of the promising results obtained with the antibody therapy in mice, highlighting why it is important to test promising therapies in higher species than only rodents. These results suggest that a subpopulation of MS patients may benefit from this treatment, but warrant further work before embarking on human trials with these antibodies.