Washington scientists develop groundbreaking MS treatment

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SEATTLE -- Scientists at Swedish Medical Center are working on a treatment that could repair the damage caused by multiple sclerosis.

MS is a disease that causes the immune system to attack the central nervous system. Patients can suffer a number of symptoms including numbness, blurred vision, or even paralysis.

But researchers at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute are working on a new drug that could reverse these disabilities.

"We realized that if we were able to stop the disease completely, we'd still have a lot of people with a lot of disabilities, so the ability to repair the damage would be a big move forward," said Dr. James Bowen from Swedish.

Washington has some of the highest rates of MS in the country and North America. No one knows exactly why, or what causes the disease. While most patients are diagnosed between 20 and 50 years old, there's a growing number of juvenile cases.

The Swedish Neuroscience Institute is currently conducting 24 research studies on MS. The local scientists also helped study and test two new oral medications that were approved by the FDA earlier this year. For years, patients had to take their disease-modifying medications via injections.

Swedish is also home to the MS Center, one of the largest facilities of it's kind.

The new damage-repairing treatment is now in the first phase of human study. It could be ready for patients to use within eight to ten years.