This now infamous quote from Dr. Coles came when he was asked to comment on Jeff's treatment for CCSVI, as reported in the UK's Daily Mail.
The relationship between the brain and immune system is much more complex than ever imagined.
There are no antigen specific antibodies in MS. There is no specific immune target in Multiple Sclerosis.
And, thanks to new research, we now know that immune cells are vital to a functioning brain.
1.They provide healing after a break of the blood brain barrier, as we see in MS.
2.They aid healing of axons after injury to the central nervous system, via glial scar formation
3.The "autoimmune" t cells often ablated in MS treatment are also responsible for neuroprotection.
At the time of his quote, Dr. Coles was bringing his life's work to market--the chemotherapy drug Alemtuzumab, repackaged for MS as Lemtrada. Cole's overarching premise in his research is that the immune cells in multiple sclerosis are completely damaging to the brain, and need to be entirely removed.
Meanwhile, Dr. Coles is busy trying to create an antidote to stop the new autoimmune diseases his drug has caused. That's right...Lemtrada actually causes autoimmune disease!
The principal adverse effect of alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) is autoimmunity, which arises when reconstitution of the immune repertoire after alemtuzumab occurs by homeostatic expansion of residual lymphocytes. Therefore we are now testing the ability of keratinocyte growth factor to promote thymic lymphopoiesis and so prevent autoimmunity after alemtuzumab, in a MRC-funded clinical trial.
In the past decade, a narrative developed in the MS drug industry by MS researchers like Dr. Coles: the idea that the immune system is at fault, and needs to be halted. This has led to the creation of a class of drugs which create "lymphocyte sequestration" and "lymphocyte depletion"---meaning they keep the white blood cells walled off in the lymph tissue or deplete them, keeping them out of the body's circulation. Instead of allowing immune cells protective entry into the body and around the brain, they are held back. This new class of more powerful disease modifying drugs include Tysabri, Gilenya and Tecfidera.
It also makes sense as to why Tecfidera and Gilenya have now been linked to PML...and I fear it's only a matter of time until real world reporting comes in.
Dr. Michal Schwartz has been publishing on the importance of immune cells for brain health for decades. Both she and Dr. Nedergaard are two of my research heros. They are brilliant, determined women who have challenged the neurological status quo and are actively publishing their findings.
This book is simply wonderful! It is written clearly and simply, so that lay people might understand her research. But it is also in-depth enough to appeal to researchers. All of her publications are cited.
The brain needs immune cells.
Be well, be curious.
The earth is not flat.