New Drug Protects Nerve Cells From Damage In Mice

According to an article in the National MS Society website, researchers have reported that an experimental compound was found to be effective in reducing the damage to nerve fibers and their myelin insulation when administered to mice with a chronic form of EAE, a disease in rats that is similar to progressive MS in humans.

Researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reported their findings in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study was also funded in part by a research grant from the National MS Society.

When it comes to the treatment for progressive MS in humans, researchers have so far been successful on only a few known options. With the new study on an experimental compound known as ABS-75, researchers have hopes of finding another promising treatment that may someday help MS sufferers from the debilitating effects of the disease.

ABS-75 is a fullerene derivative that combines the effects of an anti-oxidant with a compound that blocks the activity of the natural chemical glutamate. Glutamate is a nerve transmitter in the body that can cause injury to the nerves if found in excess amounts. ABS-75 has shown that it can protect nerve fibers from further injury in the mice models of stroke. The experimental compound is also known to enter into the brain efficiently.

In mice models with EAE, the mice counterpart of progressive MS, treatment with ABS-75 showed reduced symptom progression as well as a substantial reduction in nerve fiber loss and myelin damage, which serves as the insulation of the spinal cord. Aside form that the mice model of the said study also showed that ABS-75 protected the cells from a certain type of injury caused by high levels of glutamate. The said study also showed that the compound did not seem to affect memory functions unlike other drugs used to block out glutamate activity.

The new study follows a different approach to trying to prevent the damage caused during the progressive stages of MS. More research might still be on the way to determine if this new approach would be effective as a treatment option for humans with multiple sclerosis.




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