Monday, February 13, 2012

Chang Shan vs Multiple Sclerosis

"A new study suggests the Chinese herb known as Chang Shanselectively weakens the runaway immune response implicated in many autoimmunedisorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis."

As we begin this 27th year since Patti’s diagnosis of MS,I wish I could embrace hope with the enthusiasm of a quarter century ago.

Now before everyone goes digging up neighborhoods, nurseries, andbotanical gardens for roots of blue evergreen hydrangea let’s take a moment.

At the risk of oversimplifying … Our healthy immune system dependson T Cells. ‘Rogue’ T Cells have long been considered a culprit with MS. ‘Rogue’T Cells cannot distinguish friend from foe and target the body’s own myelin asif it were a bacteria or virus. Finding a way to suppress the ‘rogue T Cells’without suppressing all T Cells has been the challenge.   

Back in July 2009 …
Compound from Medicinal Herb Thwarts Turncoat Immune Cells “A smallmolecule (halofuginone) better known for its anti-malarial properties can blockthe birth of the immune cells involved in autoimmune diseases without blockingcrucial infection-fighting cells”, report Harvard Medical and Dental Schoolresearchers.

Now in Feb 2012 after peer review and further retesting ...
“We recently demonstratedthat halofuginone (HF) …inhibits the development of TH17-driven autoimmunity ina mouse model of multiple sclerosis” Halofuginone and other febrifugine derivatives inhibit prolyl-tRNA synthetase

With publication in Feb. 2012 Nature Chemical Biology,associated media and more are picking up the story.

Again at the risk of oversimplification, Chang Shan is the herbalform, Halofuginone is the synthetic.

Interestingly back in 2003, SunCatcher Herbs, developed Sclero-Eze,a herbal supplement that uses Chang Shan as a base. Their website announces “mayTreat - Rheumatoid Arthritis - Scleroderma - Lupus - M.S.”

From a quarter century of experience I can share that breaking researchon mice can take a decade before availability to humans, if ever. On the otherhand while the herb is available it was not the herb that was tested.

However, no one can imagine another’s hope.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer