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Title: Targeting growth factors to sites of inflammation : gene therapy for multiple sclerosis
Author: Sclanders, Michelle
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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Disease progression in Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease of the CNS, is widely accepted to be due to persistent myelin loss (demyelination) coinciding with lost nerve cells and nerve fibres (neuroaxonal loss). Current treatments are immunomodulatory and do not address the neuroaxonal or demyelinating pathology of the disease. It is hypothesised that a lack of growth factors within the CNS may result in the failure of remyelination. Therefore, biologics such as recombinant therapeutic proteins used for gene therapy offer a promising therapeutic intervention to the progressive stages of the disease. However, due to the short half-lives of these therapeutics and their pleiotropic effects, there is cause for concern over their safety and efficacy. Using LAP technology (the fusion of the therapeutic protein with the latent associated peptide [LAP] of TGFβ), the half-life of the therapeutic protein can be increased and can be targeted to sites of inflammation and disease. This study aimed to investigate the potential neuroprotective, remyelinating and anti-inflammatory effects of latent versions of the growth factors erythropoietin (EPO), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF) respectively. Firstly, using molecular cloning techniques, these growth factors were individually fused and linked to the LAP of TGF via a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) cleavage site resulting in three latent growth factors. Secondly, these latent growth factors were shown to be expressed, and to be biologically active in vitro when released by MMP cleavage. Finally, syngeneic fibroblasts were engineered to express the latent growth factors. It was found that, in CREAE, the fibroblasts engineered to produce latent TGF significantly reduced the disease clinical score as compared to controls whilst latent EPO produced by transduced fibroblasts failed to exert a statistically significant effect on disease progression. Nonetheless, this study demonstrates the feasibility of the latency platform technology to generate latent therapeutics with the ability to act as an intervention to disease progression in MS.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medicine ; Biochemical Pharmacology ; Multiple Sclerosis ; Joint Inflammation