This patent teaches methods of stimulating nervous system regeneration by activating an immune response against the nervous system. Specifically, stimulation of immunity against antigens in the central nervous system such as myelin is associated with induction of autoimmunity, for example in the animal model of multiple sclerosis called experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. This is why this patent is interesting, because it is harnessing a process that is usually considered pathological but using it to stimulate regeneration.
The first claim of the patent covers:
A method for reducing secondary neuronal degeneration that follows neuronal damage caused by an injury, disease, disorder or condition in the central or peripheral nervous system of an individual in need thereof, comprising:
causing T cells activated against a nervous system (NS)-specific antigen which, in its native state, is present at the site of secondary neuronal degeneration, to accumulate at the site of secondary neuronal degeneration in the individual in need,
thereby reducing secondary neuronal degeneration at that site, wherein, when the individual in need has an autoimmune disease, the NS-specific antigen is not the autoimmune antigen of that disease, and when the individual in need has a neoplasm, the NS-specific antigen is one that does not appear in the neoplasm, wherein said causing step is accomplished by
-- administering an effective amount of said NS-specific antigen, or an immunogenic epitope thereof, in such a manner as to cause a T cell response thereto, such that T cells become activated against the NS-specific antigen which is present at the site of secondary neuronal degeneration,
wherein said NS-specific antigen or immunogenic epitope thereof that is administered is myelin basic protein (MBP), the peptide p51-70 of MBP, or Nogo-A p472 peptide (SEQ ID NO:19); or administering an effective amount of T cells that are activated against said NS-specific antigen or said immunogenic epitope thereof, wherein said activated T-cells are T-cells activated against MBP or the peptide p51-70 of MBP.