Washington: Scientists have identified a set of compounds that may be used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) in a new way.
Unlike existing MS therapies that suppress the immune system, the compounds boost a population of progenitor cells that can in turn repair MS-damaged nerve fibers.
One of the newly identified compounds, a Parkinson's disease drug called benztropine, was highly effective in treating a standard model of MS in mice, both alone and in combination with existing MS therapies.
"We're excited about these results, and are now considering how to design an initial clinical trial," Luke L. Lairson, an assistant professor of Chemistry at TSRI and senior author of the study, said.
Lairson cautioned that benztropine is a drug with dose-related adverse side effects, and has yet to be proven effective at a safe dose in human MS patients.
"People shouldn't start using it off-label for MS," he said.
The study is published online in the journal Nature.
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