Hi to all,
I saw this pop up and thought it might be relevant to this thread. I didn't look to see if it has already been posted.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Acne medication may delay progress of multiple sclerosis
Canadian researchers investigate common medication
as alternative MS treatment
Calgary, October 25, 2007 – A common acne medication that has been
available for over 30 years has the potential to delay the progress
of multiple sclerosis and if proven effective, will offer an
inexpensive option for the treatment of early MS, says the MS Society
Clinical researchers in Calgary and 13 other Canadian centres will be
taking an in-depth look at an oral therapy known as minocycline after
initial studies have shown promising results. A new $4 million multi-
centre clinical trial involving 200 participants from across Canada
is being funded through the MS Society's related MS Scientific
"The benefits of minocycline are straight forward: it's relatively
cheap, has few side effects and can be taken in pill format," says
Dr. Luanne Metz, principal investigator for the study and a professor
of clinical neurosciences at the University of Calgary Faculty of
Medicine. "The aim of our research is to see if this common drug can
reduce the occurrence of further disease activity in people who have
experienced an initial attack of MS symptoms and who are at high risk
of progressing to definite MS. Without treatment, two thirds of
people facing this circumstance are expected to be diagnosed with MS
within 6 months. We believe minocycline can reduce this number."
In MS, myelin, which is the protective coating of the nerve fibres of
the brain and spinal cord, becomes inflamed. This inflammation can be
seen as characteristic lesions by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Previous clinical tests of minocycline have shown an 84 per cent
reduction of MS lesion activity on MRI.
"There is obvious benefit in delaying the rate of disease progression
in MS, from improved quality of life to reduced healthcare expenses,"
says Dr. William McIlroy, national medical advisor for the MS Society
of Canada. "The breadth of the study, the reputation of the
researchers involved and the early clinical data supports the view
that there is considerable promise for minocycline. We would not be
involved if this were not the case."
Minocycline works by inhibiting the activities of an enzyme and
immune cells that are keys to initiating MS attacks. It has been used
in acne treatment for its anti-bacterial effects but studies have
shown its anti-inflammatory properties could be important factors in
slowing down MS. These insights were discovered through pioneering
research funded by the MS Society of Canada and led by Dr. V. Wee
Yong at the University of Calgary (U of C). Drs. Metz and Yong lead
the MS program at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at U of C where many
of the early studies on minocycline took place.
In comparing minocycline to current therapies, the cost savings would
be substantial. In generic form, minocycline is available for as low
as $800 per year. Current MS therapies can cost between $18,000 and
$40,000 per year. Researchers note that minocycline would not
necessarily replace current therapies, but might delay the timeframe
in which they would be required.
The study will be randomized and double-blind by design.
Investigators will compare 100 mg of oral minocycline twice daily to
placebo over a period of two years.
Enrolment will begin in early 2008 and 14 MS clinics are involved
including institutions in Calgary, Vancouver, Burnaby, Edmonton, Red
Deer, Saskatoon, London, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec
City, Sherbrooke and Halifax.