Anti-inflammatory therapy slows MS progression in mice

October 30, 2020
A new study suggests intranasal administration of an anti-inflammatory drug helped reduce disease progression in a preclinical model of multiple sclerosis. Researchers showed delivering an anti-inflammatory drug to mice helped prevent damage to brain cells, effectively slowing the progression of the disease.

Researchers at the University of Alberta identified a drug called VX-765 as a strong candidate therapy for MS patients. The drug works by inhibiting caspase-1, a component of inflammasomes that promotes harmful inflammation in the body. In previous research, the study’s authors saw beneficial results by delivering insulin intranasally in other models of brain inflammation, and they decided to go with that delivery route again. 

Using mouse models, researchers dissolved VX-765 in a fluid and then injected the mixture into the nose. To examine the effect of VX-765 on the nerves, researchers used positron emission tomography scans to look at brain metabolism and were able to document whether the insulation had been stripped or not after the therapy was delivered. The study shows intranasal therapy is effective in preventing demyelination and axon injury and loss.

Results of mouse model studies sometimes do not translate to humans and may be years away from being a marketable treatment. However, researchers said the loss of myelin and loss of nerves are irreversible processes, so any therapeutic that helps to slow or prevent that from happening is an exciting advance for MS research. The particular delivery method also allows the therapy to be delivered in a more precise and targeted way.

The study was published in the journal GLIA.

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