One of the proposed reasons for chronic inflammation and neuron damage in multiple sclerosis is the activation of immune cells in the central nervous system. Bruton Tyrosine Kinase (BTK) is an enzyme that can cause an inflammatory response in some subtypes of white blood cells. BTK has recently shown promise in reducing inflammatory lesions in the brain of patients with MS. However, the exact underlying mechanism of this molecule is not well understood.
Dr. Safavi’s project will look at the role of BTK in neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, with the goal of being able to better target therapeutics for MS and other demyelinating diseases.
This research is funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Brain Foundation. Dr. Safavi is a Neuroimmunology Fellow at the National Institutes of Health.