Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating neurological disorder that affects young adults. It is a complex and frustrating disease with relapses, remissions and— finally—progression to a chronic stage that is devastating to the patient, causing paralysis and other severe neuromuscular dysfunction.
The cause of the disease is essentially unknown. Treatment is difficult due to the variability of progression in different patients. In general, multiple sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disease in which the patient's own immune system attacks the myelin sheath that normally surrounds and protects nerve cells. Regardless of the origins of this disease, the treatment strategy focuses on coping with acute episodes and preventing progression to the point of disability. Regrettably, available therapeutics do not adequately satisfy these needs.