Cancer drug a possible treatment for multiple sclerosis
(Medical Xpress)—A drug that is currently used for cancer can relieve and slow down the progression of the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) in rats, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE. The discovery, which was made by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, might one day lead to better forms of treatment for patients with MS.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the spinal cord and brain, damaging nerve tissues to cause visual impairment, paralysis and other neurological disabilities. There are approximately 17,000 MS victims in Sweden, most of who develop the disease between the age of 20 and 40. The disease is currently incurable, and the treatments that are able to ameliorate the symptoms can have severe side effects.
"There is a particularly urgent need to find new, efficacious drugs with minimal adverse effects for patients with MS in the relapsing phase of the disease," says Assistant Professor Ingrid Nilsson at Karolinska Institute's Department of Medical Chemistry and Biophysics.
The disease is caused when white blood cells attack the central nervous system. The CNS is normally protected by the blood-brain barrier, which governs what passes through the vascular walls. However, the inflammation that MS gives rise to causes the blood-brain barrier to become more permeable for immune cells to pass through.
In this present study, the research team examined the possibility of influencing the neurological symptoms by sealing the blood-brain barrier. This they did using a common rat model in which the immune defence is stimulated by an endogenous protein in the nerve tissue that triggers an autoimmune reaction, whereby white blood cells attack the protein in the CNS to create symptoms in the rat similar to those of human MS. The rats were then treated with imatinib (Gleevec®), a drug used for treating certain kinds of cancer and previously shown to reduce blood-brain barrier leakiness.
"Administering imatinib enabled us to slow down the progress of the disease and ameliorate neurological symptoms by preventing the influx of white blood cells from the blood into the nerve tissue," says Dr Nilsson.
The treatment with imatinib also suppressed the autoimmune reaction and reduced the number of white blood cells leaking through the blood-brain barrier. Since the drug is already used for cancer patients, a clinical study of the treatment could be conducted on MS patients in the near future.
"The treatment proved effective even when administered to animals that had already developed symptoms, which is very important in terms of its use in patients with multiple sclerosis," says Dr Nilsson.
More information: Imatinib ameliorates neuroinflammation in a rat model of multiple sclerosis by enhancing blood-brain barrier integrity and by modulating the peripheral immune response, PLOS ONE, online 20 February, 2013
Journal reference: PLoS ONE
Provided by Karolinska Institutet
- Receptor may hold key to multiple sclerosis treatment Jun 11, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Research opens up possibility of therapies to restore blood-brain barrier Jan 02, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
- A breakthrough in pinpointing protective mechanisms in Multiple Sclerosis Dec 02, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- New MS target identified by Canadian researchers Jan 11, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Stem cell transplant reverses early-stage multiple sclerosis Jan 30, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
By discovering the new mechanism by which estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis in the liver, UC Irvine endocrinologists have revealed a potential new approach toward treating certain liver diseases.
Medical research 18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Aortic arch pulse wave velocity, a measure of arterial stiffness, is a strong independent predictor of disease of the vessels that supply blood to the brain, according to a new study published in the June issue the journal ...
Medical research 18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Since the discovery of Prontosil in 1932, sulfonamide antibiotics have been used to combat a wide spectrum of bacterial infections, from acne to chlamydia and pneumonia. However, their side effects can include serious neurological ...
Medical research 19 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report they have discovered in mouse studies that a small molecule released in the spinal cord triggers a process that is later experienced in the brain as ...
Medical research 19 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Spanish researchers have discovered that the daily clearance of neutrophils from the body stimulates the release of hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, according to a report published today ...
Medical research 21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
40 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
How can healthy people who hear voices help schizophrenics? Finding the answer for this is at the centre of research conducted at the University of Bergen.
32 minutes ago | 3 / 5 (1) | 0
Researchers from London's Kingston University have begun a two-year study which could help prolong the lives of people with colorectal tumours.
22 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
New research presented today shows that formation of new neurons in the hippocampus - a brain region known for its importance in learning and remembering - could cause forgetting of old memories by causing a reorganization ...
12 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Ernie Pyle – an iconic war correspondent in World War II – reportedly said "There are no atheists in foxholes." A new joint study between two brothers at Cornell and Virginia Wesleyan found that only ...
15 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Research by Stanford scholar Emma Seppala at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education found that post-traumatic stress disorder decreased in veterans who participated ...
42 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0