Dr Junhua Xiao appears on WIN News for World MS Day

Dr Junhua Xiao from the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience was interviewed on WIN News about her research on regenerating myelin to help people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) on World MS Day.

The program was aired on WIN News Shepparton, Bendigo, Wagga, Orange and Canberra.

Dr Xiao’s laboratory, which she co-heads with Dr Simon Murray, works with the Drug Design laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (co-headed by Associate Professor Tony Hughes and Dr Susan Northfield) to develop treatments for repairing myelin for people with MS.

“Our role is to identify drugs that can effectively promote myelin repair,” Dr Xiao told WIN News.

Myelin is a vital insulating sheath for the nervous system, but in people with MS the myelin is destroyed by the immune system. This leads to nerve disfunction and motor control problems for the 25,000 Australians living with the condition.

The research involves stimulating myelin production using a synthetic peptide called TDP6, which increases the number of myelin producing cells. TDP6 mimics Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which supports the growth and health of brain cells. The researchers have found that TDP6 is actually more effective than BDNF at regenerating myelin.

The researchers are currently working on improving TDP6 and developing new therapeutic treatments, which they hope will soon benefit people living with MS.

You can read more about their research on Pursuit: MS and new ways of regenerating our brain’s insulation.

Watch the video here.

World MS Day takes place on 30 May each year, and aims to raise awareness of the often invisible symptoms of MS, and the impacts of the disease on patients’ quality of life.