Drs. Bourdette, Wong and researchers discover MS-like disease in monkeys Share This OHSU Content

06/30/11  Portland, Ore.

The Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology's Scott Wong, PhD, and Department of Neurology's Dennis Bourdette, MD, discuss recent findings

The cause of MS, which affects about 400,000 people in the United States, is unknown.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered a naturally occurring disease in monkeys that is very much like multiple sclerosis in humans — a discovery that could have a major impact on efforts to understand the cause of multiple sclerosis.

The disease that the researchers discovered in monkeys at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center is associated with a herpes virus that could give significant clues into how multiple sclerosis develops in humans. MS researchers have long believed that a type of herpes virus may trigger multiple sclerosis in people who are genetically susceptible to the disease.

The OHSU researchers' findings were published online today in the Annals of Neurology.