Tokyo: Japanese researchers have developed a drug that they claim could cure multiple sclerosis.
The National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry at Kodaira announced yesterday that it will start a three-month clinical trial next month on nine patients. If the drug’s efficacy is confirmed, it will move on to a large-scale trial.
The drug developed by Yamamura stimulates a type of immune cell that softens the attacks by lymphocytes and creates a protein that suppresses inflammation.
In the clinical trial, the drug will be drunk in powder form dissolved in water, Kyodo news agency quoted the Center as saying.
“We are hopeful as preliminary studies have produced very good results,” said Takashi Yamamura, head of the immunology department responsible for the drug’s development.
About 2 million people around the world are estimated to suffer from the disease, which causes symptoms such as numbness, motion problems and vision loss. In Japan, there are an estimated 15,000 sufferers, including many young women, and the number is growing.
The autoimmune disease occurs when lymphocyte immune cells misidentify the body’s own cells as foreign. They attack nerve cells, causing inflammation and destroying them.