May 23, 2024

New Potential Drug Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis Shows Promise in Pre-Clinical Studies

The team, led by Dr. Fang Liu, has conducted pre-clinical studies using a small molecule drug that has shown promise in treating MS. The results of their research were published in the journal Science Advances.

MS is a progressive neurological disease for which there is currently no cure. It is characterized by a variety of debilitating symptoms, including muscle weakness, coordination problems, cognitive difficulties, and depression. The disease is more common in northern latitudes and affects women more often than men.

The researchers focused on developing a treatment that targets the damage to myelin, a protective sheath around nerves in the brain and spinal cord that is damaged in MS. Traditionally, drug treatments for MS have targeted the immune system, as myelin damage is triggered by inflammation in the immune system.

Dr. Liu and her team took a different approach by targeting the glutamate system. They developed a small molecule compound that showed effectiveness in two different animal models of MS. The compound not only reduced MS-like symptoms but also showed potential in repairing the damaged myelin.

“This compound had a stunning effect on rescuing myelin and motor function in the lab models, and I hope these effects will translate to the clinic to add to current treatments and bring new hope to patients with MS,” said Dr. Liu.

Dr. Iain Greig and his team at the University of Aberdeen are working to further develop the molecules identified by Dr. Liu into advanced drug-like compounds suitable for clinical trials.

“In all my years as a medicinal chemist, I have never seen a more promising starting point for a drug development project. It has been a huge pleasure to be involved in this program, and I am looking forward to continuing to drive it towards the clinic,” said Dr. Greig.

The research has been filed for patent protection, and CAMH and the University of Aberdeen are actively seeking industry partners to advance this work towards clinical trials in the coming years.

“We are pleased to have helped enable the early development of a novel neuroprotective strategy for MS and look forward to seeing it progress through the critical next stages needed to determine its potential benefits for people living with MS,” said Walt Kostich, Ph.D., head of the National MS Society (U.S.)’s Fast Forward commercial research program.

The next steps in the drug development process involve further pre-clinical research to investigate the safety and stability of the compound. The researchers believe that the evidence of efficacy and tolerability generated in this study makes the small molecule drug a promising candidate for human trials.

The development of a new drug treatment for MS represents a significant advancement in the field and holds great potential for improving the outcomes and quality of life for MS patients. With continued research and collaboration with industry partners, this novel treatment could soon be available in clinical settings.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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