Ahead of MS Awareness Week, which starts today (Monday April 24), an international team involving the University of Exeter Medical School and the University of Alberta has discovered a new cellular mechanism— an underlying defect in —that may cause the disease, and a potential hallmark that may be a target for future of the autoimmune disorder.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation and part funded by the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Paul Eggleton, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “Multiple sclerosis can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, affecting mobility, speech, mental ability and more. So far, all medicine can offer is treatment and therapy for the symptoms – as we do not yet know the precise causes, research has been limited. Our exciting new findings have uncovered a new avenue for researchers to explore. It is a critical step, and in time, we hope it might lead to effective new treatments for MS.”

Multiple sclerosis affects around 2.5 million people around the world. Typically, people are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s, and it is more common in women than men.

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