Intranasal Interferon Formulation Shows Promise for MS Treatment

Treatment for multiple sclerosis usually involves administering drugs such as beta-interferons by injecting them. This might strike some level of fear among MS patients who look for other means for treatment aside from using injectibles which might affect patient perception. A new interferon formulation may just change all that.

Medical scientists from the Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with Nerveda Inc. and Aegis Therapeutics LLC have demonstrated an interferon formulation that can be effectively administered intranasally as a means to prevent nerve damage in preclinical animal models of multiple sclerosis. The said formulation is said to be the first time that non-injectible beta-interferon formulations are used for treating MS.

The interferon family of compounds has been used for treating relapsing-remitting as well as the secondary-progressive forms of multiple sclerosis and continues to show promise. Beta-interferon therapy has been known to effectively slow the advance of multiple sclerosis as well as reduce the frequency of attacks in patients. But currently such drugs can only be administered through subcutaneous injections. The invasive approach has made other patients wary of the said treatment for their disease.

Interferon compounds are basically made up of large and fragile protein molecules. The aggregation of the protein molecules at non-refrigerated temperatures usually becomes the subject of instability that reduces the efficacy of the compound.

The already large protein molecules even become larger upon aggregation, making it harder for the body to absorb them in the bloodstream. The poor absorption of the compounds in the bloodstream can sometimes lead to the development of antibodies against interferon, making their effectiveness as treatment decrease over time.

The new formulation of the non-invasive interferon compounds has been a product of the application of the Aegis Intravail transmucosal absorption enhancement and ProTek protein stabilization technologies into addressing the problems concerning protein stability of the said compound.

In animal models of multiple sclerosis, the new formulations have shown to be effective in preventing nerve damage even when administered intranasally. The said formulation also showed a reduction in immunogenicity while increasing stability when going through a stress test that involved constant agitation at elevated temperatures for extended periods.

According to Dr. Edward Maggio, Ph D and CEO of Aegis Therapeutics, "Since interferons will continue to be the foundation of MS therapy, it is critical that non-invasive delivery options for patients be developed. The reduction in immunogenicity and the increase in stability also address a significant unmet need of the currently available beta-interferon therapies."


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