Combination of two pharmaceuticals proves effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis

November 26, 2012, Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
The two already well-known substances of the Cyclosporine (C) and FK506 (tacrolimus) (F)-series serve as building blocks. They are connected via a so called linker -- here shown as a chain. Credit: DZNE / C. Schwickart

A new substance class for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases now promises increased efficacy paired with fewer side effects.

To achieve this, a team of scientists under the leadership of Prof. Gunter Fischer ( Research Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding, Halle/Saale, Germany) and Dr. Frank Striggow (German Center for (DZNE)) have combined two already approved pharmaceutical substances with each other using a chemical linker structure. The objectives of this combination are to ensure maximum brain cell protection on the one hand and the suppression of unwanted side effects on the other. The new class of substances has now been registered with the as the DZNE's first patent in the form of a joint with the Max Planck Research Unit. "The patent approval process can take several years. During this phase we are planning to conclude the pre-clinical development. It is our aim to start with clinical research and development at the earliest possible time. Overall, we have identified substantial therapeutic potential as far as chronic and age-related neurodegenerative diseases are concerned," comments Dr. Frank Striggow.

Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease that affects the . It destroys the insulation of the nerve cell signaling system, the of the neural axons. The consequence of this process is the malfunction of signaling and finally cell death resulting in permanent neurological problems. The cause of multiple sclerosis is that the body itself attacks the cellular components of the myelin sheaths, the oligodendrocytes. Hence, the team of scientists under the direction of Prof. Gunter Fischer and Dr. Frank Striggow embarked on a search for intervention options that could protect from these attacks. The goal was not only to prevent the damage and loss of brain cells, but also to develop a medication that has a positive impact on cell regeneration.

The used components of the Cyclosporine and FK506 (tacrolimus)-series have been utilized in a chemically slightly altered form as immunosuppressant medications for a long time. Both suppress the cellular immune defenses. This effect is necessary in conjunction with organ transplants, but otherwise problematic for the organism. The specific combination of the two substances amplifies the protective effect on the thanks to different but synergistic efficacy mechanisms. The impact on the immune defense is reduced at the same time, which results in fewer side effects. Both of these achievements were corroborated by experiments. An application for a patent protecting this new class of active ingredients has now been filed. Ascenion GmbH and Max Planck Innovation both attend the project as utilization partners of the DZNE and of the Max Planck Society.

Explore further: Multiple sclerosis: Damaged myelin not the trigger

Related Stories

Multiple sclerosis: Damaged myelin not the trigger

February 27, 2012
Damaged myelin in the brain and spinal cord does not cause the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS), neuroimmunologists from the University of Zurich have now demonstrated in collaboration with researchers from Berlin, ...

Hopes for reversing age-associated effects in MS patients

January 6, 2012
New research highlights the possibility of reversing ageing in the central nervous system for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The study is published today, 06 January, in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Researchers decode a puzzling movement disorder

November 25, 2011
Neurodegenerative diseases represent one of the greatest challenges of our aging society. However, investigation into these diseases is made particularly difficult due to the limited availability of human brain tissue. Scientists ...

Neuroimmunologists find gut bacteria link to multiple sclerosis

October 27, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology have found that commensal gut flora in mice is an essential part of the immune triggering process that leads to multiple sclerosis (MS). In their ...

Hope for infant brain injuries like cerebral palsy as well as multiple sclerosis

June 27, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- In a new study published in Nature Neuroscience, a team of researchers revealed the discovery of a key protein necessary for nerve repair and could lead to the development of a treatment for brain injuries ...

Taking the fate of stem cells in hand: Researchers generate immature nerve cells

June 28, 2012
German biologists have deliberately transformed stem cells from the spinal cord of mice into immature nerve cells. This was achieved by changing the cellular environment, known as the extracellular matrix, using the substance ...

Recommended for you

Novel botulinum toxin compound relieves chronic pain

July 18, 2018
A modified form of botulinum toxin gives long-lasting pain relief in mice without adverse effects and, in time, could replace opioid drugs as a safe and effective way of treating chronic pain, according to research by UCL, ...

FDA recalls heart medication valsartan, citing cancer concerns

July 17, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a voluntary recall of several medications that contain the active ingredient valsartan, which is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

Opioids given too easily to children: study

July 16, 2018
(HealthDay)—Many children are prescribed powerful opioid painkillers they don't really need, putting them and those around them at risk, a new study shows.

Study reveals opioid patients face multiple barriers to treatment

July 12, 2018
In areas of the country disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis, treatment programs are less likely to accept patients paying through insurance of any type or accept pregnant women, a new Vanderbilt study found.

Report details possible conflict of interest issues for FDA advisors

July 6, 2018
Charles Piller, a contributing correspondent for the journal Science, has published a Feature piece in the journal detailing what he describes as possible conflicts of interest issues by people who serve as advisors to the ...

Opioid epidemic responses overlook gender

July 5, 2018
Yale health experts warn that current efforts to confront the growth of opioid addiction and overdose deaths must better incorporate an understanding of how women fit into this epidemic.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.