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Cell-specific Gene Therapy in Central Nervous System (CNS) Autoimmunity
Start Date: 1/19/2022Start Time: 4:00 PM
End Date: 1/19/2022End Time: 5:30 PM

Event Description
BIOMED Seminar


Cell-specific Gene Therapy in Central Nervous System (CNS) Autoimmunity

Guang-Xian Zhang, MD, PhD
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Thomas Jefferson University

Inflammatory demyelination and axonal damage in the central nervous system (CNS) are hallmarks of the chronic stage of multiple sclerosis (MS). A deficit in oligodendrocyte maturation is a major cause of remyelination failure, axonal degeneration and permanent disability. While considerable progress has been made in therapies for MS, the current immunomodulatory treatments are ineffective for the chronic stage of the disease and have considerable systemic side effects. Developing more effective and CNS-specific strategies for remyelination and neural repair is, therefore, a clearly unmet need within MS therapy.

To define the mechanism underlying remyelination failure and improve MS therapeutics, we have tested several approaches in a preclinical MS model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. These include: 1) Transplantation of gene-modified neural stem cells to provide exogenous cells for remyelination and neural repair, which may also promote an endogenous repair mechanism; 2) Gene modification in CNS cells (e.g., astrocytes, microglia, oligodendrocytes) as a potential CNS-specific therapeutic approach to endogenous remyelination and neural repair; 3) Tests of the effects and mechanisms of small molecules as promising neuroregenerative therapies for MS.

Guang-Xian Zhang, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Neurology in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at the Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Zhang obtained his MD in China, and his PhD in Neuroimmunology at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden. He came to the University of Pennsylvania as a postdoctoral fellow and then Thomas Jefferson University as a faculty member, focusing on the studies of pathogenesis and therapy of MS and its preclinical animal model. Dr. Zhang's studies are mainly supported by the NIH NINDS/NIAID and the National MS Society (NMSS).
Contact Information:
Name: Lisa Williams
Email: ltw22@drexel.edu
Guang-Xian Zhang
Remote Webinar
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