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Talk of a cure is premature

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A headline in the Daily Mirror makes claims for an experimental treatment that are not yet backed up by research.

The newspaper has a headline "Brit scientist could be about to CURE multiple sclerosis".  The story refers to research being led by Dr Su Metcalfe from Cambridge based company LIFNano Therapeutics.  They have been investigating LIF (leukemia inhibitory factor), a substance released by cells that is involved in cell development. In the laboratory, they have found that LIF can repair myelin which has been damaged experimentally.

Research into new areas of managing MS is very welcome. Were this to work as described it would an important step forward.

However, it's important to see this story in context.

  • This article originally appeared in Cambridge Business Magazine and in the business section of the Cambridge News and is intended to attract investment.
  • As is sadly quite common, the headlines make a bold claim that isn't entirely backed up by the article.
  • The technology has not yet been trialled in humans and won't be until 2020 at the earliest.

Whilst we very much hope that Dr Metcalfe is proven right, until there is clinical data to show this is a safe and effective treatment in people with MS, any mention of 'cure' by the press is very premature and irresponsible.