A grant coming from the National Institutes of Health will help researchers from the University of Central Florida explore new ways to possibly reverse the damage caused by neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis.
The National Institutes of Health recently provided a grant worth $1.9 million for a four year project to a tram of researchers headed by Stephen Lambert, associate professor in the College of Medicine and member of the Hybrid Systems Laboratory of the University of Central Florida. Lambert has received the first installment worth $428,000 to begin the study of the breakdown of myelin, the insulating substance that covers the nerves in the brain and the spinal cord to enable effective signal transmission between cells and muscles.
Most of the research will be taking pace at the Hybrid Systems Lab at the NanoScience Technology Center of UCF. This was the same lab where another team of researchers was able to show for the first time that specialized myelin coating can be produced in the laboratory without the use of any type of growth serum. This allowed researchers to further study the causes of myelin damage and the impact of proposed chemical treatments. It may further provide researchers with a better understanding of what causes certain neurological disorders such as MS.
According to Lambert, "The process of myelination is extremely complex. By reproducing these complex phenomena in our laboratories, we can learn more about what causes debilitating diseases that affect so many people around the world."
"We hope our research will ultimately lead to new drugs that reverse the damage caused by these diseases and help patients lead longer, healthier lives," he further added.