For the first time a new drug seems to be able to repair the damaged cells in MS (Multiple Sclerosis) patients.
Why are cells damaged in Multiple Sclerosis?
In multiple sclerosis the immune systems attacks myelin. Myelin is surrounding the actual nerve cells (like an electric cable). See picture. Thus nerve cells are losing their function.
How does the new drug work?
The new drug is called “anti-LINGO-1”. It is an artificial antibody against LINGO-1. LINGO-1 is a protein found in the cells producing myelin. By blocking LINGO-1 the cells are able to produce myelin again. Thus the destroyed myelin can be repaired.
What are the results of the study?
The biogen study included 82 people. They were given 6 doses of anti-LINGO-1. A control group received a placebo. Participants receiving the drug had a 41% improvement in nerve function compared to the placebo group.
“Just a few years ago, the idea of nervous system repair was only a dream,” said Bruce Bebo, executive vice president for research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
What does it mean for you?
The drug is not yet approved by the FDA. The trial was the second of three phases required for the FDA approval. That means it still will take years till the drug could be available but the results are very promising.