Oklahoma brain cancer researchers make potentially key discovery in fight against MS

The finding, scientists say, was unexpected. It could lead to better therapies for treating patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

Video Transcript

BOB AXTELL: It's a tough one.

- Dr. Bob Axtell studies MS at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation where experts unexpectedly made a big find in the fight against the disease while studying brain cancer. This seems to be how science and research goes sometimes. You're looking at one thing, and then you find something else on another topic.

RHEAL TOWNER: That's totally correct, yes. And so, you know, it was sort of-- it was very unexpected for us to actually see that, you know, some of these genes that we're looking at in our disease model are also associated with another disease model.

- During his research on mice, Dr. Rheal Towner found a marker. It's called ELTD1. It's often associated with devastating brain tumors.

RHEAL TOWNER: We looked at the genetic data. We found that there were a number of genes that were not only associated with glioblastoma, but also associated with multiple sclerosis.

- Towner's first call was Dr. Axtell who says the discovery may play an important role in helping researchers uncover better therapies for patients with MS. Researchers tell us they plan to investigate how bloecking ELTD1 affects the progression of the disease.

BOB AXTELL: Something that's going to slow down the inflammation, and you want something that may help in repairing the damage that the inflammation may have already caused.

- A high school student and a college student in the OMRF's Fleming Scholar Program had a hand in the research trials. Towner and Axtell hope this inspires the future generations of scientists to come.

BOB AXTELL: You can be a young person that really doesn't know much about science, but really contribute to something important.