Scientists have identified a way of prompting nerve system repair in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Studies on rats by Cambridge and Edinburgh University researchers identified how to help stem cells in the brain regenerate myelin sheath, needed to protect nerve fibres.
MS charities said the “exciting” Nature Neuroscience work offered hope of restoring physical functions.
But they cautioned it would be some years before treatments were developed.
MS is caused by a defect in the body’s immune system, which turns in on itself, and attacks the fatty myelin sheath.
It is thought to affect around 100,000 people in the UK.
Around 85% have the relapsing/remitting form