June 26, 2014

Preliminary results of a new class of oral drug that targets inflammation in neurodegenerative conditions reported

The Study
Research teams from the University of Kentucky and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, developed a new class of oral drugs that appear to target and suppress inflammation in the brain of animal models of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury.

The drugs, known as MW151 and MW189, target a particular type of brain inflammation and work to prevent the overproduction of brain proteins called pro-inflammatory cytokines – which are implicated in the development of MS. The purpose of the study was to assess whether early intervention with drugs that target pro-inflammatory cytokine production might be effective disease-modifying treatments in delaying the onset, or reducing progression in neurodegenerative conditions. 

What do these findings mean for Canadians affected by MS?
Although promising, the findings reported in the Journal of Neuroscience are preliminary and based on animal models. According to reports, a pharmaceutical company has recently completed a Phase I trial in humans however the results have not yet been published. Phase II and III clinical trials in humans will be required to determine the safety and efficacy of this new class of oral drugs. The clinical trial process will take several years to complete if findings continue to suggest safe therapeutic benefit. The MS Society of Canada will continue to monitor the status of this experimental agent.

[Adam D. Bachstetter,Christopher M. Norris, Pradoldej Sompol, Donna M. Wilcock, Danielle Goulding, Janna H. Neltner, Daret St. Clair, D. Martin Watterson, and Linda J. Van Eldik. The Journal of Neuroscience, July 25, 2012 • 32(30):10201–10210 • 10201]