More MS news articles for November 2000

Acorda Therapeutics Initiates Phase 2 Study of Fampridine-SR for Multiple Sclerosis
HAWTHORNE, N.Y., Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Acorda Therapeutics announced today that it has begun a Phase 2 clinical study of its lead product, Fampridine-SR, for multiple sclerosis (MS).

The study will enroll 30 patients at three of the leading MS clinical centers in the US. Fampridine-SR is a nerve conduction-enhancing compound that has been shown to restore some neurological function to people with demyelinating central nervous system disorders, such as MS and spinal cord injury (SCI). The Company is also conducting a late Phase 2 study of the drug for chronic, or long term, spinal cord injury.

In MS, the patient's immune system attacks the myelin sheath, which normally surrounds axons (nerve processes) in the brain and spinal cord, insulating them much like insulation on an electrical wire. Demyelinated axons are alive, but can no longer conduct impulses. Thus, patients with MS experience a range of neurological deficits, including weakness, paralysis, involuntary spasms, impaired vision, and loss of control of bodily functions. MS affects approximately 1 in 1,600 people, or approximately 250,00 - 300,000 people in the US.

The major action of fampridine (also known as 4-AP or 4-aminopyridine) is to block specialized potassium channels on axons. When an axon is demyelinated, through injury or disease, large numbers of these potassium channels are exposed and "leak" potassium ions, causing the axon to "short circuit."  By closing the exposed potassium channels, fampridine permits the axon to transmit impulses again, resulting in increased neurological function. Fampridine-SR is the pharmaceutical-grade, oral, sustained-release formulation of the drug developed by the Company's corporate partner, the Elan Corporation.

Acorda Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company, is developing therapies for spinal cord injury and related neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis.  In addition to Fampridine-SR, the Company is also developing protein- and stem cell-based technologies for regeneration and repair of spinal cord and brain.

SOURCE Acorda Therapeutics