Thu, Mar 14 2002 8:04 AM AEDT
Human clinical trials are expected to begin in Australia next year of a new drug to treat auto immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Animal trials have shown the drug successfully treats the damage caused by the diseases and prevents their further development.
The drug is based on a protein produced by women called early pregnancy factor (EPF) that has been synthetically reproduced by Queensland scientists hoping it will suppress the body's reaction to auto immune diseases.
The company developing the drug C-Bio has signed a deal with a University of New South Wales biotechnology company to produce enough quantities of EPF to enable human trials to begin next year.
The managing director of C-bio, Dr Wolf Hanisch says participants have already been found for the first trial which will be conducted through the Brisbane hospital.
"The first thing we have to do is a toxicity trial in humans to see if there's any side effects, people don't really look for biological effects in a phase one trial," he said.
Dr Hanisch says if the drug is successful it could be publicly available
in about eight years.
© 2001 Australian Broadcasting Corporation