October 9, 2002, Wednesday
BIOTECHNOLOGY company Antisense Therapeutics is moving from animal to human trials in its search for a possible cure for multiple sclerosis.
While there are already several possible cures for MS being trialled worldwide, the Antisense product stops the production within the body of the disease-creating bodies rather than attacking them after they have formed. But even if the drug is proven eventually to stop the spread of MS throughout the body, it will not be able to reverse or "wind back" the condition of people with MS.
Antisense managing director Mark Diamond said that the drug, ATL1102, targeted an immune cell protein called VLA-4, which is a main contributor to the disabling disease.
"We would not be testing for the presence of VLA-4 in the body but it would still require a doctor to make a diagnosis, after which the drug could stop the spread of the disease," he said.
The drug had applications for other inflammatory diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Mr Diamond said the trial was expected to begin in the UK at the start of next year after the necessary approvals had been obtained from the regulatory authorities.
Antisense shares rose 0.5c to 9.5c yesterday.
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