June 1, 2004
Fort Frances Times
University of Calgary researchers have made an important discovery in the treatment of multiple sclerosis that could have a profound impact on people suffering from the disease.
They found that minocycline, a drug used to treat conditions such as acne, decreases the activity of lesions in the brains of people suffering from MS.
The results of the study are published in the May edition of the Annals of Neurology.
“We consider this to be a very promising lead,” Dr. Wee Yong said yesterday. “Things are moving in the right direction in improving therapy in MS.
“It is promising, but it’s not yet a cure for MS.”
Yong and Dr. Luanne Metz are collaborating on a new study that looks at the potential for minocycline to be even more effective when used in combination with Copaxone—another drug used to treat MS.
This combination study will take place in Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
“For reasons that are still unclear, people with MS suffer from immune system malfunctions, which trigger attacks of the nerve cells and myelin in the central nervous system,” said Metz, director of the MS clinic in the Calgary Health Region.
“Current treatments being used today do not eliminate MS completely—they only lessen the severity and slow progression of the disease.
“Our new findings are exciting because we discovered that minocycline significantly reduces the activity of the lesions in the brain. These findings offer us the possibility of a new and safe treatment option for people with MS,” added Metz.
The randomized study looked at 10 people with active, relapsing-remitting MS—characterized by clearly-defined attacks followed by partial or complete recovery.
It assessed the effect of oral minocycline on people with active lesions in their brains.
Each participant was given an MRI at the onset of the study, and then
every four weeks after that, to determine whether or not the lesions caused
by MS were getting worse or stabilizing.
Copyright © 2004, Fort Frances Times Ltd.