Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks its own body. This aberrant response to the body’s own cells, tissues and organs, resulting in inflammation and damage, are hallmarks of autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity affects millions of people worldwide, including over one million Australians. These autoimmune diseases range from type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, to rheumatoid arthritis. Despite the number of medications used to manage these autoimmune diseases, there is an ongoing need for the development of new and improved treatments, particularly for complex diseases such as MS.
MS is a debilitating autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system. It affects the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerves. In MS, the immune system destroys nerve axons and myelin and MS sufferers experience impeded vision, balance, muscle control and basic bodily functions. There is still no cure for MS.
Professor Claude Bernard from the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University led an Australian research team developing novel nanomedicines to suppress the autoimmune response in diseases such as MS.
With support from the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, Monash University partnered with the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre (AIMSRC) in India. Monash University and AIMSRC jointly conducted the research using world class research facilities, technology, expertise and materials.