June 4, 2004
Source: Annals of Neurology, 2004;55:756
A drug currently used to treat conditions including acne has been found to decrease the lesions in the brains of people with multiple sclerosis.
Researchers from the University of Calgary in Alberta treated 10 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis with the drug minocycline. Patients had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed before the study and then four weeks later.
Luanne Metz, M.D., lead author of the study, reports that the drug seems to significantly reduce the activity of lesions in the brain. They believe the drug, an antibiotic, works on the immune system of this group of individuals who are known to have immune system malfunctions that trigger the attacks in the nervous system. Dr. Metz says these findings could lead doctors to a new and safe treatment option for patients with MS.
Dr. Metz and colleagues are currently involved in another study looking at the benefits of minocycline when combined with Copaxone, also known as glatiramer acetate, a drug approved to treat MS.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, disabling disease that affects one
in every 10,000 people. Symptoms vary, but include vision problems, numbness
in limbs, balance and coordination problems, and loss of muscular control.
Although the disease does not typically lead to death, it can destroy quality
of life. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis.
Copyright © 2004, Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.