A study published in Friday's issue of the journal Sciencereported that a peptide from a T cell receptor holds promise asa treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS).

Researchers, led by Halina Offner of the Oregon Health SciencesUniversity (OHSU) in Portland, showed that the peptide mightbe used to treat experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis(EAE), an animal model for human MS. The study was alsoconducted at Veterans Administration Medical Center inPortland and Columbia University in New York

Xoma Corp. (NASDAQ:XOMA) of Berkeley, Calif., which licensedthe technology from OHSU, partly funded the study, said CarolDeGuzman of Xoma. Phase I clinical studies in MS patients arescheduled to start next month.

MS is an autoimmune disease that afflicts 250,000 Americansannually, most of them women between the ages of 20 and 40.Immune cells called T lymphocytes attack myelin, which coatsnerve cells. When myelin is destroyed, nerve cell transmissionis affected, causing neurologic abnormalities and paralysis.There is no treatment for MS.

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