Oh, did we mention how important lymphatics are?

Newly discovered brain lymphatic vessels are shown in red, almost invisible beside the blood vessels (in green). Image courtesy of University of Virginia.

Newly discovered brain lymphatic vessels are shown in red, almost invisible beside the blood vessels (in green). Image courtesy of University of Virginia.

The lymphatic system is an incredibly complex and fascinating system of the human body. Quite frankly, we can't live without it, and, as many people can attest to, life with a poorly functioning one is very difficult.

Despite its importance, the lymphatic system still remains under-studied, under-recognised and under-treated. However, new research is now pointing out just how important the lymphatic system is in the pathology of cardiovascular disease, infection and immunity, cancer, and obesity. As a result, addressing these four major healthcare challenges effectively will almost certainly require further emphasis on the lymphatic system. Improving lymph flow or lymphatic function could have an incredible impact on the health of millions of people.

In other exciting work, researchers have only recently discovered that the brain also contains lymphatic vessels that carry fluid and immune cells from cerebrospinal fluid. Is it possible that the disruption of these lymphatic vessels affect the development of neurological disorders that are linked to immune dysfunction?  We don't know yet, but more research is being done. If that is the case, then we could add multiple sclerosis, meningitis, and Alzheimer's disease to the growing list of conditions that can be linked to a poorly functioning lymphatic system.

We believe that research on this amazing system will continue to emerge, and make us more and more aware of the crucial role lymphatics play in our health. As this happens, improving lymph flow and lymphatic function may emerge as a key therapy to improve millions of lives across a whole spectrum of challenging diseases, and we plan on being uniquely placed to deliver this therapy.