The Johnnie Walkers: Raising Funds for Multiple Sclerosis Research and Spreading Hope for Patients and Families
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Scientists at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine are partnering on a novel research study to help manage this disease. Through this important study, known as the Tolerance Initiative, Dr. Stephen D. Miller from Northwestern and Dr. Brian Popko from the University of Chicago are using nanotechnology to induce immune system tolerance, thereby preventing “friendly fire” on healthy cells in the body of a patient with MS.
In the study, biodegradable nanoparticles—composed of the same biopolymer used to make resorbable sutures—are coated with myelin proteins. Once these clusters are infused into the body, the immune system is re-taught that healthy myelin is not an invading outside threat and should be left alone. The Miller and Popko laboratories are combining this tolerance protocol with drugs that stimulate myelin repair and have found that combined treatment with both strategies leads to a remarkable ability to reverse paralytic symptoms in animal models of MS. Through the Tolerance Initiative, the immune system environment is effectively enhanced, allowing for re-myelination to occur naturally or with the intervention of myelin repair agents, many of which are currently entering into human clinical trials.
To learn more about the Tolerance Initiative, click here to watch a video produced by WGN News featuring Dr. Stephen Miller.
This research is a game changer. Not only does it have the potential to revolutionize the management of MS, but also myriad other diseases. Since the myelin proteins used in the Tolerance Initiative can be exchanged with other proteins, scientists could potentially “tolerize” in response to many types of autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. It could also lead to breakthroughs in controlling severe allergies like peanut and cat dander, or even eliminating organ transplant rejections.
The Johnnie Walkers are a group of friends walking, donating, and BBQing together to raise awareness and funds for multiple sclerosis research. Previously, the group supported the Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) where both Drs. Miller and Popko served as principal investigators. After the MRF distributed its assets last year, these world renowned scientists continued to collaborate.
On Sunday, May 19th, we are bringing together our team for our annual walk to raise funds to support the great work of Drs. Miller and Popko. Generous gifts in support of the Tolerance Initiative have the potential to benefit not only those suffering from MS, but individuals who deal with countless other autoimmune deficiencies.
To donate online, please click on the GIVE NOW button on right side of this page.
For more information on The Johnnie Walkers and to see logistics of The Walk, please return to team captain Bob Gregory's blog by clicking here.