Barrow Neurological Institute Neuroimmunology Fellow receives $50,000 awardYoung-Huen Jee, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, recently received a $50,000 fellowship award from the Hob Family Foundation to support her research of treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Dr. Jee's research focuses on action mechanisms of the MS drug Copaxone in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE), a form of MS. When she joined Barrow's Neuroimmunology Laboratory in March 2005, Dr. Jee began testing the effect of Copaxone in mice without specialized immune system proteins that help eliminate disease. Surprisingly, she found that the drug protected them from becoming afflicted with EAE.
Her discovery challenged the prevailing view of the way Copaxone functions and prompted her to investigate alternative mechanisms of the drug's action. Dr. Jee's initial findings received enthusiastic comments from International Immunology and have been accepted for publication in this prestigious journal. Her current results suggest that Copaxone's ability to prevent EAE occurs largely through its effect on regulatory T cells, which are specialized cells of the immune system.
"In a very short time, Dr. Jee has uncovered a previously unrecognized mechanism underlying several important routes through which the immune system can modulate MS, an incapacitating disease of humans," says Timothy Vollmer, M.D., chairman of Barrow's Neurology Department. "Her discoveries will pave the way for novel therapies based on targeting NKT cells to control disease."
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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