Advancing drug delivery systems for the treatment of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. It is characterized by demyelination of neurons and loss of neuronal axons and oligodendrocytes. In MS, auto-reactive T cells and B cells cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), causing perivenous demyelinating lesions that form multiple discrete inflammatory demyelinated plaques located primarily in the white matter. In chronic MS, cortical demyelination and progressive axonal transections develop. Treatment for MS can be stratified into disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) and symptomatic therapy. DMTs aim to decrease circulating immune cells or to prevent these cells from crossing the BBB and reduce the inflammatory response. There are currently 10 DMTs approved for the relapsing forms of MS; these vary with regard to their efficacy, route and frequency of administration, adverse effects, and toxicity profile. Better drug delivery systems are being developed in order to decrease adverse effects, increase drug efficacy, and increase patient compliance through the direct targeting of pathologic cells. Here, we address the uses and benefits of advanced drug delivery systems, including nanoparticles, microparticles, fusion antibodies, and liposomal formulations. By altering the properties of therapeutic particles and enhancing targeting, breakthrough drug delivery technologies potentially applicable to multiple disease treatments may rapidly emerge.