3rd Jun 2002
By EVONNE BARRY, health reporter
HUMAN trials of a protein that could treat multiple sclerosis will start in Melbourne soon.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne are ready to start human trials after identifying a substance that protects nerve cells from attack by the immune system.
MS is a degenerative disease of the nervous system that can lead to gradual muscle paralysis.
However the discovery of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF), which was first purified by Australian scientists in 1987, could revolutionise the treatment of MS.
The research team, led by Dr Trevor Kilpatrick, found the naturally occurring protein, or cytokine, reversed the loss of nerve cells in mice with the animal form of MS and kept cells in the brain alive.
Human trials are ready to go ahead, but timing depends on Amrad, a Melbourne
biotech company that holds the commercial rights to the research.
© Herald and Weekly Times