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MSU Scientists Develop Autoimmune Disorder Treatment

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BOZEMAN - Scientists from Montana State University say they are making strides in research that could possibly treat autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes or multiple-sclerosis.

Scientists at Montana State University are working on developing a therapy that could be manufactured as a drug or added as a supplement in probiotic food products such as yogurt  to help treat autoimmune diseases.

"What's really exciting to us is the probiotic food angle because that lends itself to being potentially easy to serve a broad market," said Nick Zelver, MSU Technology Transfer Office.

The new product could help treat more than 80 autoimmune disorders which affect more than 23-million people in the United States.

"We've taken a bacteria that is permanently used in food products," said David Pascual, MSU Immunology Professor. "It's a simple oral treatment that we would like to eventually give to people and see if it can relieve them of their symptoms."

The possible treatment could be taken with other medications and as frequently as a person needs it.

"We're thinking someone will take it once a week or once a month or whenever they have a flare up," said Pascual.

Nick Zelver with the MSU Technology Transfer Office. is working with companies to get the treatment approved and sold to the public.

"It's not necessarily used as a prescribed drug, but can be just used in general to improve the lives of people that have various autoimmune diseases," said Zelver. "It's not necessarily the complete cure, but the big benefit is it can be very simple and easy to use."

The treatment has already been tested on animals and they're hoping to get it tested on humans soon.

"When we tested it, we could protect animals against different autoimmune disease," said Pascual. "We're trying to get our work published and after that we will pursue trying to see if we can do testing in humans."

Pascual hopes to get the treatment to people diagnosed with these diseases in the next five years.

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