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DNA Vaccine May Treat Multiple Sclerosis

samzenpus posted about 7 years ago | from the good-for-what-ails-you dept.

Biotech 127

GSASoftware writes "Multiple sclerosis is a serious, as-yet incurable neurological disease which causes blindness, paralysis and other serious symptoms. In a new development, a neuroimmunology researcher in Montreal has developed a therapeutic DNA vaccine. The cause of the disease is not fully understood, but it appears to be auto-immune. If a DNA vaccine can be an effective therapy for this auto-immune disease, is it possible that DNA vaccines could treat other auto-immune diseases like Crohn's, eczema, and others?"

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double entendre (0, Flamebait)

User 956 (568564) | about 7 years ago | (#20233399)

DNA Vaccine May Treat Multiple Sclerosis

The best vaccine against unwanted "DNA" is a condom. If it helps against Multiple Sclerosis too, that's fantastic.

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#20233429)

I'm going to go with "abstinence" as the best vaccine against unwanted DNA. Abstinence, properly done, has zero risk of pregnancy. Unless you're getting impregnated by God (like Mary).

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

NoobixCube (1133473) | about 7 years ago | (#20233541)

Mary probably just said it was God's kid so she didn't get stoned in the streets for infidelity.

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#20233587)

That's what Joseph was for.

That is, if you believe the bible. But if your talking about Mary getting pregnant, I guess it is safe to say your entertaining the notion.

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233595)

The Niggers just wanna say that it is Gods kid cause we dun wanna be hit wit tha child support. The Niggas wanna hit da underage pussy and be out. The Niggas also like hittin the asshole and we hit dat shit hard. We'll be around your hood at 7am, cause we were hitting it with a 13 year old bitch. Her asshole is stretched about a mile and a half and if you wanna hit dat shit let me know. anywayz we'll be rollin' around your hood around 7am so bring your tears.

The disease curing Niggers

Re:double entendre (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | about 7 years ago | (#20233903)

That's part of the problem though. Teaching abstinence is all well and good if you live in some kind of dream world where people only have sex after they're married. Humans are sexual creatures, we're hard wired to have sex and we're going to do it since the survival of the species relies on it. As my parents did for me I will do for both of my daughters, education about the safer ways to have sex and the joy as well as the dangers of it. I'm a dad so teaching my girls about sex isn't going to be fun for me, but I would much rather they have a healthy attitude about it and not try to hide it from me than for them to learn about it on their own and end up pregnant or worse. Both my wife and I had sex before we were married with others and with eachother and we're much happier as a result, we knew before we were married that we were compatible sexually and emotionally which has lead to a very long and healthy sex life with no urge on either side to seek sexual satisfaction extramaritally. Anyway, abstinence is a great ideal but it really doesn't have much of a place in reality. Back on topic though this is great news and I hope that it can be refined to bring a lot of light and joy to some people that live a very very difficult life.

Re:double entendre (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20234823)

we knew before we were married that we were compatible sexually and emotionally which has lead to a very long and healthy sex life with no urge on either side to seek sexual satisfaction extramaritally.

I'm afraid the statistics show otherwise... those who have sex before marriage (especially with other partners) are more likely to get "extramarital" than those who don't. It makes since, you get used to getting different partners, then you get "stuck" with one.

Abstinence is hands down the best policy, it will stop unwanted pregnancies (and therefore the many convenience abortions) and statistically you will be happier in your marriage.

Submitted Anonymously to protect my karma from closed-minded /. robots.

Re:double entendre (1)

utopianfiat (774016) | about 7 years ago | (#20237677)

Oh christ, this is some crap. Tell me exactly how someone can be statistically happier? Before I quote Mark Twain on this one, why do people enjoy basing their life decisions on statistics? Seriously, do people really become abstinent because they feel like it has an 'empirically demonstrated potential to decrease the chances of my unhappiness'? Does anyone besides me realize how absurdly stupid this logic is? How do you even quantify this?
The biggest problem I find with your post is that it assumes everyone is a monogamist, which isn't true by a long stretch now-a-days. Some singles don't intend to settle down, and don't intend to marry, and this is an increasingly common lifestyle among young adults; possibly, just maybe because we all grew up during the reganist social prohibitionism bullshit that permeates american life to this day.
Rather than seek a sexually satisfying marriage by eliminating all other options, perhaps the better alternative is to find a marriage that is both sexually and emotionally satisfying; a good choice of a mate, rather than the first nice christian girl/boy that comes along.

Re:double entendre (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 7 years ago | (#20238437)

Sounds like a total cop-out justification for not being charming enough to get laid. Dude, wash your face more, come out of your parents basement more often, and make an effort to be a little more social to the ladies. It really isn't that hard - you have hormones and instinct working FOR you as stated in the earlier post. The desire to reproduce is one of the most common "hard wired" instincts in all animals. Humans are the only animals stupid enough to try and go against nature by promoting "abstinence". I mean after all, you don't want to slap God in the face by telling him that the urges he instilled in you are wrong, do you?

GO MONTREAL!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233471)

Don't tell this guy [] about it or he'll be all over this story claiming how Montreal is as big as LA and has 1950s microwave technology that rivals anything the US is doing. Then he'll launch into a tirade about how poor Montreal is being ignored by the international community.

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233683)

It's fun to make light of a debilitating disease...

Let's see if someone can make a witty punchline to any of the following:
1) How many Parkinson's patients does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
2) What's the difference between a cancer patient and a gas station?
3) Two AIDS patients walk into a bar and sit down at the table. The bartender looks up...
4) Why did the woman with M.S. cross the road?
5) What do you call the mix between a kid with cerebral palsy and a giraffe?
6) Knock knock. Who's there? Leukemia kid. Leukemia kid who?

Let the fun begin.

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233999)

1) How many bulbs does it take?

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20235425)

4) The paint mixer at the hardware store broke.

Re:double entendre (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | about 7 years ago | (#20233723)

No babies come from ass sex either remmeber.

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233733)

Umm, I believe they refer to is as a bun in the dumpster.

Re:double entendre (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20234081)

No babies come from ass sex either remmeber.

      You lie! How the fuck do you think niggers are made?

Re:double entendre (3, Informative)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#20233739)

Your comment has been tagged as Funny. I hope that is how you intended it to be (and the title suggests that you did), because otherwise you are being totally ignorant and offensive. I have a loved one who is suffering from MS. She hasn't done anything to 'deserve it'. It isn't caused by having loose morals. Its effects, however, are devastating. Her life and my own, as well as the lives of many members of our family, have been changed as a result of the disease. Our home has had to be modified so that she can live on a single level, our plans for the future have been destroyed as she is unable to do the everyday things that we had planned to do, and her daily life is very much affected by the limitations that are brought on by the disease. To her, a visit to the local shops is a difficult adventure, to travel further afield might sometimes be impossible, to sit in the garden and look at the flowers can be the most exciting thing to occur in her day, to do some housework presents her with challenges that you and I cannot imagine. Personally, I find it hard to view such things as 'Funny'. Enjoy your laugh, I will not begrudge you that, but I hope that there is some light at the end of our tunnel as a result of the research that is described in the article.

Re:double entendre (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233891)

You must be great at parties.

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20234065)

They don't have parties in Germany.

Re:double entendre (0, Offtopic)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#20234179)

I'm not in Germany, nor am I German. But thank you for hiding behind your AC when you haven't got the balls to say it as yourself.

Re:double entendre (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 7 years ago | (#20238655)

I'm not in Germany, nor am I German.
Then you've no excuse for being such a homourless dickhead, have you?

Re:double entendre (1)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#20240011)

Ah, such incisive wit! Each word crafted to cause the maximum mirth in the reader. You must be really proud of your contribution to this thread. Your comment has certainly added an invaluable and intelligent insight into the problems that medical science is currently experiencing. Now piss off and let the adults have a discussion.

Re:double entendre (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20234029)

Your comment has been tagged as Funny. I hope that is how you intended it to be (and the title suggests that you did),

If it's that obvious, then why the long-winded bitchfest? Seriously, wtf????

fucking cunt

Re:double entendre (0, Flamebait)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#20234199)

Another brave AC who hasn't got balls. But I suppose that you think that jokes about other crippling diseases, such as cancer, motor-neurone disease etc, are also funny? It was not a bitch fest - but for those with small brains need to be reminded that what might appear funny to them can be quite painful for others. As I said, I don't begrudge you (or anyone in fact) having a laugh but if you need to hide behind an AC to have a joke at someone else's expense, then perhaps you have already realised that it wasn't as funny as you hoped it would be. I hope that you never suffer from any such illness but, if you do, you will hear my laughter wherever you are....

Re:double entendre (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | about 7 years ago | (#20240181)

Change the record, your grumbling about AC's is getting really tedious. Here I am, all logged in - what are you going to do - beat me up after class? Grow the fuck up already.

Re:double entendre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20234221)

wtf, other ac's, where would you recommend this topic be taken seriously? Shocking how there are so many responses from people whose lives have been affected by MS are trying to bring everybody down in this particular discussion. Oh, is it about MS? Get a grip.

Why such offense? (2, Insightful)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | about 7 years ago | (#20238783)

I'm unclear as to why you took so much offense to the GP's attempted humor.

His joke itself, of course, was not funny. It's a play on the wording of the title. Instead of parsing it as a DNA vaccine against MS, he parsed "DNA Vaccine" as a vaccine against DNA. The attempted humor being, if you don't want to be "infected" with DNA, use a condom.

You somehow interpreted his joke to imply that MS was caused by unprotected sex. I didn't read the post that way, and anyhow, I have never heard anyone suggest, either credibly or in jest, that MS is an STD.

In fact, I found the "joke" to only be making fun of the article's title, and not MS itself. As hard as I try, and as many angles as I search, I am unable to come up with any situation in which MS could be humorous.

Wife diagnosed in '05.

Re:double entendre (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | about 7 years ago | (#20233921)

I cannot really say it is funny, a friend of mine has this disease, I must say it is one of the most terrible things I have ever seen. What happens is that your physical condition goes gradually down (so does your mental condition to some degrees in the later stages)
this is endless suffering for decades.

I am not sure which disease is the worst, but MS is definitely a candidate for worst disease!

Re:double entendre (1)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#20234243)

Thank you. As you will have noticed from my posts above, I also cannot see a funny side to this. If this had been an article about CPUs, power supplies or YRO, there would have been a serious discussion. As it is, many seem to think that such diseases are simply a cause for jokes. My family do laugh about MS, otherwise we would not get through some days, but we do not laugh at the sufferer but at the disease's effects. Many comments in the posts seem to think it is a sexually transmitted disease - which shows their ignorance - but they are probably unaware of the myriad of symptoms and their effects upon the sufferer.

I am sceptical of the discovery but hope that there is something useful in it. However, to the best of my knowledge, there is still nothing on the horizon that holds as much promise as this discovery so this is, for the time being, the best chance for many people.

Re:double entendre (1)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | about 7 years ago | (#20238995)

My family do laugh about MS
I'm not sure how this is possible.

Like I said before, I considered MS from all angles and failed to find any opening for humor. Not even in the context of a cure having been found and looking back on the challenge of the time.

It's usually funny to look back at some challenge you faced and see it as humorous. Example: "Remember that time we were in Vietnam and we were looking for... which Wat was it? I don't even remember... anyhow, we got out at the bus station and there was this map of the town, but it lacked a 'you are here' sign and we just wanted to know where we were on the map so that we could orient ourselves. We kept trying to convey to locals through various charades and dances and hand signals our predicament, to no avail. Boy, was that funny."

Now let's try it with MS: "Remember that time when you went blind in one eye? Except the eye didn't go 100% dark, it instead went 100% bright and if you opened your eye, it was so bright it looked and felt like you were staring into a wall of 1,000 suns. Remember how painful that was? And how you had to wear that patch on your eye for everyone in the world to see and ask how you injured it, and you had to explain it dozens of times despite how badly your head was throbbing? Wasn't that funny?"

Yeah, not so funny. Lousy stand-up material, for sure.

Re:double entendre (1)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#20239871)

I fully agree, not many aspects of MS have a humorous element. But we have managed to find laughter from time to time. The best jokes are the ones told by the sufferer about the problems they are experiencing. For example, the sufferer's loss of balance can cause an effect similar to that seen in drunken people. In this case, the sufferer made light of the issue by pointing out that we were all drinking beer at a BBQ to achieve a similar effect, so look how much she was saving in both time and money! OK, it is not a joke that can be told to great effect, but we all laughed - including the sufferer - and it made MS seem, for a moment or two, something less frightening to us all. Another example which brought a smile to many faces was when 2 MS sufferers had a wheel chair race to join the queue to buy an ice-cream. It was obvious that they found life difficult but they both enjoyed the short competition and the existing queue, faces full of smiles, stood aside to allow them to be served first. MS is serious business but, from time to time, a little laughter can perhaps be found.

Re:double entendre (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | about 7 years ago | (#20239401)

Many comments in the posts seem to think it is a sexually transmitted disease
In a way it is - as are hemophilia, sickle cell anemia and ginger hair.

Re:double entendre (1)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#20239707)

No, there is no proven genetic link. We have gone back 4 generations and there is no trace of MS in the family history. That hardly makes it look a convincing case for a genetic disease. In fact, no-one actually knows yet what causes it. They can see its effects on the body, and they can view the symptoms that people exhibit, but they are still at a loss as to the cause and cure.

Re:double entendre (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | about 7 years ago | (#20240531)

No, there is no proven genetic link.
It's not disproven either.

We have gone back 4 generations and there is no trace of MS in the family history. That hardly makes it look a convincing case for a genetic disease.
Unless your family is the only one to ever exhibit this disease, that proves nothing. Not really a huge sample size, is it?

Re:double entendre (1)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#20240681)

So how do you substantiate your claim that it is a sexually transmitted disease?

We must eradicate DNA! (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#20233415)

Deoxyribonucleic Acid is burning our youth! We must be vaccinated immediately.

Snuh! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233433)

Inject this vaccine into your meals before eating. It will remove any traces of harmful DNA from food.

Re:Snuh! (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#20233447)

How's it work on blue dresses? Zing! Topical jokes for teh win!

Re:Snuh! (0, Offtopic)

dwarfsoft (461760) | about 7 years ago | (#20233467)

I'd be more worried as to why one would eat a blue dress in the first place...

Re:Snuh! (-1, Offtopic)

Chris Tucker (302549) | about 7 years ago | (#20233569)

Damn! Wish I had points so I could mod you down even more.

How "topical" is something that happened something like EIGHT years ago?

Re:Snuh! (0, Offtopic)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#20233579)

lol.. well, it was the goo err glue that bound the president to the accusation. changing this DNA could have changed history.

Re:Snuh! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233615)

How "topical" is something that happened something like EIGHT years ago?

Ask Jay Leno's writers. Oh wait, even they seem to have gotten over it in the past year or so, so the GP really is behind the curve.
  OTOH, I bet Chris Matthews still dreams about Clinton's Cock (with the capital C) every night. Or do you think maybe he's moved on to Hillary's Boobs now?

Re:Snuh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20236427)

It's spelled "Clinus".

Always a possibility (3, Insightful)

charleylc (928180) | about 7 years ago | (#20233495)

There's always the possibility that it *could* work for other auto-immune diseases.
It's kind of mute point, though, to ask such a hypothetical question when the original story is about a new therapeutic DNA vaccine that only produces "beneficial changes" with "periods of remission".
While this is a huge step forward, it is far from being introduced into the mainstream medical community for mass use. TFA states that it is in the early stages of being studied.
Although the article does say that it's possible that it could be developed for other auto-immune diseases, I think it's a little preemptive to start asking such hypothetical questions when the target disease for which the drug is being developed isn't even out of the test stage.

Re:Always a possibility (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233509)



Re:Always a possibility (-1, Offtopic)

mr_matticus (928346) | about 7 years ago | (#20234177)


Re:Always a possibility (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | about 7 years ago | (#20238919)

Parent is not off-topic. Knowing how to use words when making your case is most certainly relevant information. Using words improperly does a great disservice to an otherwise strong post. Correcting misconceptions (particularly "mute point" which many, many people say) allows people to be taken seriously. If you said this at a symposium or panel, you'd hear giggles throughout the room.

Re:Always a possibility (5, Informative)

dberstein (648161) | about 7 years ago | (#20233575)

I suffer from MS; the last I heard of a vaccine was last year: they shut the study after a couple of patients died.

This is are very interesting and promising news for me. Perhaps in a couple of years I won't need my daily anti-fatigue pills, weekly interferon beta 1a shots, and those occasional hospital corticoid shock treatments. Probably I'll never recover for the disabilities I've already got, but at least I won't develop any further because of MS!

Re:Always a possibility (-1, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 7 years ago | (#20233829)

I suffer from MS; the last I heard of a vaccine was last year: they shut the study after a couple of patients died.
Well it works, since technically they aren't suffering from MS now.

Re:Always a possibility (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233925)

you do realize that you basically just said (s)he should die, right?

Re:Always a possibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20237935)

Does he? Where?

Re:Always a possibility (1)

dberstein (648161) | about 7 years ago | (#20234683)

Following your logic technically they weren't cured either.

Re:Always a possibility (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20235845)

There is some indication that parasites might help you as well.

Basically the theory, which originated from the observation that autoimmune diseases were vastly more prevalent in the developed world, goes that there has been a natural selection for parasites that manage to downregulate the immune system (so as to stop it from attacking them). This made a corresponding natural selection for more aggressive human immune systems. Basically you had somewhat of a downregulation aggression race which was pretty balanced. Then, in one generation, the parasites were wiped out, leaving many humans with way too aggressive immune systems.

Who knows, but it does seem to be quiet a hot research topic (although it is currently mostly focused on the likes of Crohns), with several articles in medical journals and at least two companies into producing worms. Here's a link [] to some results with respect to MS.

Good luck with your disease.

Re:Always a possibility (2, Interesting)

dmpyron (1069290) | about 7 years ago | (#20240371)

I have a friend with MS. She goes in once every 4 weeks for an infusion of Tysabri. It's supposed to be the next miracle. It's prevented the formation of new lesions in over 90% of the test subjects. The previous med was beta interferon, IIRC.

Tysabri was pulled from the market in 2004 after two of the test subjects suffered from some sort of disorder that "turned their brains to mush" (Sarah's words). A further trial had no adverse results. She's had no new lesions and is currently asymptomatic.

Re:Always a possibility (2, Informative)

tfoss (203340) | about 7 years ago | (#20236861)

It's kind of mute point
*putting on grammar/diction nazi hat*
No, it's a moot point [] .

Re:Always a possibility (1)

charleylc (928180) | about 7 years ago | (#20237441)

Thanks. I realized it AFTER I hit the submit button. I should have previewed first.

Re:Always a possibility (1)

CommonModeNoise (519251) | about 7 years ago | (#20240893)

Having MS I follow the research news (see National MS Society website to find listings). The good news is that there are many "promising" treatments, including this one. However the press release descibes the result of a "Phase I" study, which by definition is an experiment to determine the _safety_ of a new treatment, not its efficacy. Most candidate treatments that do OK in their Phase I study, fail in their Phase II and Phase III studies. Only 3(4) drugs have run the gauntlet and are in use for non-experimental treatment (one is available only under special conditions). The role of various cells of the immune system, of myelin destruction and other (unknown) neurodegenerative processes, the cause, and much more are hotly debated in the research literature. Myself, I'm insisting on both a cure AND a method to repair the damage already done. So there!

Well, I am holding my breath (4, Insightful)

lordvalrole (886029) | about 7 years ago | (#20233533)

My mother has MS and I know others as well that have it. It is such a horrible disease. I hope this research continues and is a viable option and soon. Nothing is worse than seeing a parent or loved one just lose their abilities over a few years.

Re:Well, I am holding my breath (2, Informative)

NoobixCube (1133473) | about 7 years ago | (#20233631)

My mother has MS as well, and there's only so much Betaferon can do to slow the pace. Just five years ago she was only a little night-blind, as many healthy people are. In that time she's lost her sight totally twice, and now she's losing all colour vision, and has no peripheral vision. And that's the least of the problems MS is causing her.

MS anecdonte (4, Interesting)

ookabooka (731013) | about 7 years ago | (#20233657)

First off, IANAD, though both my mother and aunt are. My aunt has fairly severe MS, she can't walk, lost some dexterity in her left arm, etc. What is interesting is that my mother is an identical twin, and doesn't suffer from MS at all. They did some experimental treatments utilizing this unique situation, one of which was some sort of combination of Chemo therapy and a bone marrow transplant. Does this vaccine simple get rid of some "risk factors" in the DNA? Obviously I'd find it hard to believe that there is a direct relationship between DNA and MS. . .

Re:MS anecdonte (1)

timmarhy (659436) | about 7 years ago | (#20233741)

Why couldn't it be genetic? by your logic all identical twins would die of the exact same things. environment can be the trigger for many illnesses.

Re:MS anecdonte (1)

ookabooka (731013) | about 7 years ago | (#20233763)

Well in that case the genetic factor are risk-factors and not definitive. There are many genetic diseases where you WILL develop symptoms if your DNA is a certain way. I'm saying I don't think MS has such a direct link to DNA based on my anecdotal evidence. That is why I'm questioning exactly what this "DNA vaccine" is doing.

No it does not - how it works (4, Insightful)

backslashdot (95548) | about 7 years ago | (#20233783)

Multiple sclerosis is when your immune system attacks a nerve's covering called myelin. What the vaccine does is it gets the immune system to stop targetting the myelin by causing a reduction in the T-cells that attack it. If it works as they say, and have demonstrated, it only reduces the number of T-cells that target the myelin protein, not other stuff.

Re:No it does not - how it works (1)

ookabooka (731013) | about 7 years ago | (#20233825)

Yeah that makes sense. Thats probably why they nuked my aunt's bone marrow and replaced it with my mothers. If I recall correctly it did stop it for a while but ended up being more of a stopgap than a viable treatment. I remember my mother telling me something like if they did that on a normal person the replacement marrow could have aggravated the auto-immune bit more but since they were identical twins there was no fear of rejection.

Re:No it does not - how it works (2, Interesting)

Thyrteen (1084963) | about 7 years ago | (#20235859)

For those who don't know, myelin is a coating that coats the axon of a nerve, promoting signal propogation to the dendrites of the next nerve. Lack of this coating is also known to lead to things such as high impulsivity (This myelin coating does not entire form until at least mid-twenties, and is at least partly responsible for the way we act as kids / teenagers).

Re:No it does not - how it works (1)

Veetox (931340) | about 7 years ago | (#20237439)

Furthermore, your stem cells actually recombine DNA well after conception to form a completely unique "ID tag" and set of antibody "master codes" - it's sort of like recompiling your OS or customizing your distro. So, it follows that everyone, even identical twins, has a completely different immune system, and that is why one twin could get MS and the other couldn't, but have the same basic genetic structure.

"DNA vaccine" (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 7 years ago | (#20233913) []

DNA is the active ingredient of the vaccine, if they mean what people usually mean by "DNA vaccine".

To vaccinate against a pathogen, you'd take some gene from it that codes for a surface protein, inject that DNA into muscle cells, let them express it and produce the protein, and the immune system would learn to react.

Which leaves plenty of confusion, since the goal of MS therapy would be to turn off the immune response to myelin, not to create an immune response.

This isn't about gene therapy.

Re:MS anecdonte (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20234791)

"What is interesting is that my mother is an identical twin, and doesn't suffer from MS at all."

It is thought that there are triggers for this. I had a friend that made it to 35 before MS started to take place...ended up getting mono and it was only after that that she start to see problems. There are doctors that say the epstein-barr virus is one of the MAJOR triggers for this disease.

For me, I have another auto-immune disease. Similar in reaction in the immune response, but attacking different parts...I had an accident that left me bed ridden for a few months, and never healed properly. Doctors couldn't figure out why something like that just wasn't healing...turns out my undiagnosed autoimmune was killing any repairs. A simple injection every few days got me out of bed. They tell me in my case that my body hit such a low that the disease was able to take over, and that if I had never had the accident, I probably would never have seen any symptoms.

"Obviously I'd find it hard to believe that there is a direct relationship between DNA and MS. . ."

And this is where your obvious belief is entirely wrong. The DNA creates the disposition, some people get it enough that it expresses itself on its own. Others need it and a combination of other external factors to express itself. We all know that almost every part of the human experience is both internal and external. You might have the genes to be a genius, but if you are adopted by ozark hillbillies living in a trash dump, you will most likely never express the genius genes (even if you end up 50% smarter than your siblings, that isn't a consolation).

Re:MS anecdonte (4, Interesting)

0123456789 (467085) | about 7 years ago | (#20235281)

I remember a radio programme about identical twins a while ago. One of the things that fascinated me was that although identical twins have identical DNA, their active genes are not identical. Over time, the genes that are active vary between the two twins, as shown by comparing the gene sequences of pairs of identical twins at different ages. The variation was called something like 'Epygenetic modification'. Hopefully someone who knows more about this can comment?

Re:MS anecdonte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20236357)

I'm an identical twin, and I've known forever that although our DNA was identical at the time of the egg splitting, the active DNA must be changing as time goes on. This is obvious from the slight differences we have from each other. He's an inch taller than me, for starters.

We both have HNPP (Hereditary Neuropathy with liability for Pressure Palsies) which we inherited from our mom, though. It is very similar to MS, in that it affects the myelin covering of the nerves, except that it isn't caused by an autoimmune response. Basically a "weak myelin layer" gene somewhere has been switched to the opposite of what it should, and this causes pressure or repetitive stress to damage the nerves more easily than usual. The symptoms are similar to MS, but less severe.

Re:MS anecdonte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20238883)

We both have HNPP (Hereditary Neuropathy with liability for Pressure Palsies) which we inherited from our mom, though. It is very similar to MS, in that it affects the myelin covering of the nerves, except that it isn't caused by an autoimmune response.

So, are you going to have kids?

Re:MS anecdonte (1)

krishn_bhakt (1031542) | about 7 years ago | (#20235915)

DNA acquires sporadic mutations. In simple terms, the are the mutations which were not there in beginning but due to defective DNA replication error correction, gets into the DNA) as we age. For e.g., Retinoblastoma is a genetic disease, but 95% of it is sporadic.
MS is a disease where the protective covering of neuron's conduction channel (axon) called myelin is lost. This in some cases is attributed to the loss of myelin basic protein. Here the researcher has reintroduced the gene for this protein and successfully expressed it as well.

Not DNA per say but some coding of the immune (1)

crovira (10242) | about 7 years ago | (#20238623)

system gets screwed up, either through an inheritable pre-disposition to environmental triggers or through the action of those environment triggers.

I am a not a doctor but I DO have MS.

MS may be a syndrome for a whole bunch of DNA/RAN transcription errors which can either be ignored because the triggers never occur or which can really fuck up your life by transforming what would normally just be a sneeze (an allergic reaction) into a life-threatening episode.

I never get the flu, I get episodes of MS instead (or "as well as').

oops! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233697)

i just hope it doesnt mess with the sex chromosomes- wouldn't that be fun to explain.

therapeutic DNA vaccine - Gene therapy you dolts! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20233795)

Good grief, why don't they just get on with it and call it gene therapy. All this 'therapeutic DNA vaccine' is it because you think people will be scared by something genetic?

ZOMG! zombie mutant viruses NO WAY!

Re:therapeutic DNA vaccine - Gene therapy you dolt (1)

jdigriz (676802) | about 7 years ago | (#20233855)

Hell, some of these dolts are scared by the 'vaccine' part of it.

Re:therapeutic DNA vaccine - Gene therapy you dolt (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 7 years ago | (#20236791)

ZOMG! zombie mutant viruses NO WAY!
Flippin sweet!

!!! Yay (1)

robpoe (578975) | about 7 years ago | (#20233797)

I surely hope that this vaccine is proven safe, and is available in the USA VERY SOON!!!

I have a close relative with MS and know several others..

Sign me up (1)

j.a.mcguire (551738) | about 7 years ago | (#20234055)

I'd take a cure for eczema any day, I think people don't appreciate the kind of pain n eczema sufferers go through on a daily basis, just showering each morning is agony, and they still expect you to get into work all bright and cheery! Last I read, 1 in 4 people suffer from eczema with varying theories on its cause ranging from poor regulation of body temperature to diet, to genetics. It's all horse, frankly it showed me from an early age how weak our medicine arsenal is when I am explained on every visit to the docs that the continued use of steroids is the only way to abait the eczema induced pain.

Itsnotlupus (0)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 7 years ago | (#20234363)

Remember, it's not lupus. []

this are great news.... (1)

quantic_oscillation7 (973678) | about 7 years ago | (#20234365)

since i was 25 i got crohn disease, i had acne since i was 15, and after 10 years i was full of that stupid disease so i took this peace of crap - [] - and as a present i got crohn and my acne didn't disappear :( i'm living with those two for 11 years and believe me, it's not easy... i'm really happy... [] i hope it will help others too...

Re:this are great news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20235085)

Hear, hear. My story's almost identical to yours. I had horrible, cystic acne when I was a teenager and got put on Accutane. Experienced viciously bad side effects from it and tried to kill myself twice. Discontinued and felt fine, but a couple of years later, I needed three surgeries for intestinal problems and the diagnosis was in: Crohn's Disease. Now I'm 29 and I've had this disease for seven years. It's decimated the majority of my 20s and it's likely that I won't be able to live my dream of completing my PhD since I'm currently bed-ridden and that doesn't look to change any time soon.

I'm really hoping that Professor Hermon-Taylor is able to raise the money to test his vaccine and that it works. This could prevent huge amounts of incredible suffering... I would donate all I could if I had something to give (as a grad student, I really don't).

safe?, maybe, effective? too early to tell (2, Interesting)

drjzzz (150299) | about 7 years ago | (#20234443)

The article reports the findings from 30 patients - meaning that the trial was testing only whether the therapy was safe. The authors' note that most patients did not progress (to develop worse disease) is only parenthetical, though the information can be used to estimate how many patients will have to be tested to determine efficacy. Frankly, I don't see a solid rational for a therapeutic mechanism, but if it works, great, and we'll learn something about MS and immunology in figuring out how it works.

There is an extremely effective new therapy for MS that blocks immune cells (lymphocytes) from their normal "trafficking" through the brain. Since the lymphocytes are responsible for the neuronal damage that underlies MS, the symptoms of MS did not worsen in the vast majority of the thousands of patients who used the drug. Unfortunately, in a small number of patients, the lymphocytes are also responsible for controlling a virus that is latent in their brain. In some of these patients, the virus became active and some patients died before the cause was recognized. Here is a link [] to the abstract of a free research paper that summarizes current understanding. I have no financial interest in the success of this drug (generic name = natalizumab [] , trade name = Tysabri).

Good news (1)

smooc (59753) | about 7 years ago | (#20234505)

This is very good news if it really works out. There have been many treatments claiming the Holy Grail before, but did nothing much except for the side effects. MS is arguably one of the worst illnesses around. My older brother suffered from it from the age of 19 until he died at the age of 32. The illness itself might not be the worst, but rather the knowledge that it will never get better is what is so hard. My brother graduated tax law with honors, but he had to stop working after a year because of his degrading eyesight. And besides physical inconveniances there are also the pshychological consequences. Remember it attacks all nerves: it changes personalities of people as well.

That said I really hope that this is what is seems it is.

simplex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20234573)

Hoping that one day we will get one for the most irritating disease, herpes, aswell...

Why do they call it Multiple Sclerosis.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20234681)

Can't you just get one?

Re:Why do they call it Multiple Sclerosis.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20234957)

Because the disease is defined by multiple attacks. If it just happens once, doctors consider it something else.

Re:Why do they call it Multiple Sclerosis.... (3, Informative)

mbowersox (953040) | about 7 years ago | (#20235093)

Can't you just get one?
Sclerosis = Scar Tissue

Multiple Sclerosis = Multiple areas of scarring in the CNS (Brain, Spinal Cord, Optic Nerves)

Great news... (1)

mbowersox (953040) | about 7 years ago | (#20235035)

As someone suffering from MS, this is great news. Currently there are few options to treat the disease, and none are guaranteed to work. If they do work, its marginal at best. :( Currently, I take a weekly injection of interferon to try to slow down disease progression, but it can only slow the disease down at most 30-40%. Hopefully in my lifetime the disease progression can be stopped dead in its tracks. This is a good start...

Re:Great news... (1)

3waygeek (58990) | about 7 years ago | (#20238605)

My mom has had MS for about 15 years now -- for the last 10 or so years, she's been taking daily injections of Copaxone, which seems to have stopped the disease in its tracks. Fortunately, dad has good insurance -- the Copaxone runs about $2000 per month.

Confusing terminology (1)

slapout (93640) | about 7 years ago | (#20235259)

Wouldn't a "DNA vaccine" be something that keeps you from getting DNA? Like the way the Polio vaccine keeps you from getting Polio?

Re:Confusing terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20235695)

Hibbert: (after giving Bart a shot) There, that's six years worth of inoculations.
Homer: (hands Hibbert a roll of money) There you are, my good man. And while you're at it, throw in one of those polio shots.
Hibbert: Ooh, yes, sir. (picks up a needle)
Homer: Eh ... anti-polio.
(Hibbert picks up a much bigger needle)

Re:Confusing terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20236025)

Nope, the summary clearly specified "therapeutic" vaccine. This means it's not a preventive vaccine.

Treatment for other diseases (1)

Reeli (872046) | about 7 years ago | (#20235293)

The researchers say if it all goes well, that it's possible that antigen-specific DNA vaccines could one day be developed for treatment of related diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. My mother has rheumatoid arthritis, and while it's not as bad as MS, it's certainly had its toll on her. DNA vaccines seem to be very promising, and I hope that the research begins to bring real results.

Cool work (3, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | about 7 years ago | (#20235407)

I haven't read the details of the study, but here's what's basically going on, from what I can tell so far... MS is a disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin in Schwann cells. Myelin is an "electrical insulator" in the cell membrane of Schwann cells. Schwann cells wrap around the axons of nerve cells in segments and the electrical signal basically jumps across the Schwann cell segments, increasing the speed of conduction. In MS, the body's immune system sees myelin as a foreign invader and attacks it and slowly consumes the myelin, eventually making the nerves non-functional.

The vaccine is actually a virus. It doesn't say specifically in the article, but I suspect it's an adenovirus because they're pretty good for this kind of thing. The DNA sequence for the Myelin basic protein (MBP) is encoded into the virus. There are actually several variants of MBP and I'm curious if they're introducing just one variant or multiple variants. Anyway, MBP is involved in myelination of nerves. I don't think this part is well understood, but in studies of mice where the gene for myelin basic protein has been removed (mice with a certain gene or genes removed are called knockout mice), they develop diseases similar to MS.

Anyway, it's cool stuff and this kind of technology is really the future of treatment for a lot of diseases. There's a protein called p53 that's involved in the normal regulation of cell death and when the gene for P53 gets mutated, it can lead to cancer. p53 is implicated in roughly half of all cancers. One possible treatment is to come up with an virus with a normal p53 gene encoded in it and use that to turn the cancer cells back into normal cells that die properly. There are a host of other genetic based diseases where this kind of thing could be useful as well.

Re:Cool work (3, Interesting)

drjzzz (150299) | about 7 years ago | (#20237289)

I haven't read the details of the study, but here's what's basically going on, from what I can tell so far...
The vaccine is actually a virus.
Wrong. A poster describing the work is available for download from the company, Bayhill Therapeutics, here [] . The therapeutic is not a virus but rather a relatively simple, circular DNA (plasmid) of about 3,500 nucleotides with a promoter to drive transcription (make mRNA) and a polyadenylation site to stabilize the mRNA. Otherwise, the DNA has just the minimum to grow and select in bacteria (origin of replication and antibiotic resistance gene that is inactive in humans). Once injected into an animal, such pure DNA is thought to be picked up by specialized phagocytes ("eating cells") that are able to make the encoded protein, albeit at low levels, and trigger immune cells with fragments of the newly made proteins.

What's odd, is that immunization with MBP can provoke an MS-like disease in mice of some strains. An abstract to an open-source paper is here [] . So exactly how this is working as a therapeutic is (more than a little) obscure.

Directions in MS research (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20235957)

GSASoftware wrote:
> The cause of the disease is not fully understood, but it appears to
> be auto-immune.

It is auto-immune; there is no question about that, and there hasn't
been for a few decades now.

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2000; I got my first
symptoms when I was 19 years old while I was overseas (imagine waking
up one morning with half your vision gone in one eye). My mother has
MS too. That there is a genetic factor has always been
known. Typically, if a close relative has MS, you have about a 3%
chance of developing the condition yourself (I won that lottery). One
popular theory is that there is a substantial number of genes that
have to possess certain characteristics in order for a person to be
predisposed to developing the condition, and then exposure to some
pathogen triggers the immune system to learn to attack the myelin
around the axons. MS is so strange a disease that experts are not
quick to jump onto any one bandwagon in terms of what actually causes

The recent findings by Dr. Stephen Hauser's team have identified the
IL2R and IL7R genes as specifically involved, and it will likely be
the case that several more genes will be correlated. It is only very
recently have actual genes been linked to the condition (and my
personal belief is that the anti-stem cell research position of the
U.S. government has been and will continue to be a major hindrance in
genetic research on MS, but that is for another thread).

There is more good news; Dr. Giovanna Bersellino's team has recently
identified another subgroup of suppressor cells that tend to be
diminished in patients with MS: []

The medication I am currently taking (interferon beta-1a injections)
is the best known-safe treatment we have, but it really is not that
much different from what has been being used since 1993. The thing is,
nobody really knows exactly why it works; the info sheet that ships
with my medication reads, "The specific interferon-induced proteins
and mechanisms by which interferon beta-1a exerts it effects in
multiple sclerosis have not been fully defined." On average, it slows
clinical progression (number of lesions in the nervous system) by
about 30%, but MS and its treatments are ellusive. It could be very
mild or very aggressive, and various medications can be very effective
or completely ineffective for different people with MS.

Other possible treatments under investigation include cladribine,
fingolimod, BG00012, MN-166, SB-683699, teriflunomide, atorvastatin
calcium, BHT-3009-01, CNTO 1275, daclizumab, rituximab, Estriol,
ABT-874, Cyclophosphamide, methylprednisolone, MBP8298, Fampridine-SR,
Lamotrigine, tetrahydrocannabinol, and so on. MS is a really hard
problem, and scientists are hitting it from all kinds of different
directions. MS requires several cures. We need to figure out what gets
it to start in the first place and to prevent it from happening at
all. We need to stop the disease in its tracks for those who have
already developed it. Finally, we need to repair the damage that has
been done to the nervous system.

This new vaccine is good news, but people with MS have learned to curb
their enthusiasm whenever new research discoveries are made. All too
often, promising new treatments turn out to have life-threatening side
effects (messing with how your immune system does its job in your
brain is tricky business).

Sick and Tired (1)

techpawn (969834) | about 7 years ago | (#20236555)

I every time someone claims to of found a "cure" for MS I shutter. I know it's far too lucrative for big pharm to lose. When a single monthly box of my injections cost over 2 grand? I mean, let's be honest with ourselves kiddies. I'm not expecting a cure anytime soon and neither should you. This is modern day snake oil because they bank on us being such a hopeless lot. We're given about 50 years, the knowledge that we're just going to get WORSE and then told how much our meds cost. Any glimmer of hope seems good until you become cynical. Diagnosed 2004

Re:Sick and Tired (1)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | about 7 years ago | (#20237649)

I'm sorry to hear that you have become cynical.

One thing that is "nice" about MS, is that there is a large enough population of affected people that a lot of research is being done. This is compounded by the cross-application of many therapies between MS and Crohn's, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc. At least it isn't some obscure disorder that doesn't get any research at all.

Biogen Idec definitely has a great thing going from a balance sheet perspective, I'll grant you. But they know that if some other pharmaceutical company comes up with a vaccine, there won't be any more Avonex or Tysabri customers.

Good luck!

Never again... (1)

lord_sarpedon (917201) | about 7 years ago | (#20237497)

...will people have to live in fear of contracting DNA. It is alarming how widespread it is among people today -- it can be a fatal mistake to assume that you do not already have DNA. Seek medical care immediately for treatment of symptoms. I really can't stress this enough: virtually every living thing with DNA will *DIE* within a matter of decades! Please, make sure your children get this vaccine before it's too late for us all.
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