HealthDay News — An experimental drug, known as anti-LINGO-1, may repair myelin damage in multiple sclerosis patients, according to a study set to be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. The trial was the second of three phases required for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug.
Diego Cadavid, MD, who is with Massachusetts-based Biogen Idec, which makes the drug and funded the trial, and his colleagues gave 82 patients with acute optic neuritis high doses of steroids before randomly assigning them to anti-LINGO-1 or placebo. Every four weeks, patients received a dose of anti-LINGO-1 until six doses were given. Participants were then assessed every four weeks for six months. They underwent a final assessment at eight months.
The researchers found that people treated with anti-LINGO-1 had significantly improved nerve repair compared with people who received the placebo — 34% greater at six months and 41% at eight months. Moreover, more than half of people treated with the drug saw a return to normal or near normal function, compared with 26% of patients who received the placebo.
“The hope for this drug is that in people who have multiple sclerosis, or any other disease that damages myelin, it will regenerate myelin that is lost,” Cadavid told HealthDay. The researchers are now testing the drug in multiple sclerosis patients in hopes of seeing similar myelin regeneration. “A second phase 2 study in people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis is evaluating the clinical benefit of anti-LINGO-1 when used long-term in people with different degrees of multiple sclerosis disability,” Cadavid said.