HealthDay News — An experimental drug, laquinimod, appears to prevent or slow the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice, according to a study published in Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation.

Scott Zamvil, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues used 50 mice bred to develop a spontaneous form of MS. The mice received either a daily dose of oral laquinimod, or a placebo. The investigators then analyzed and counted the rodents’ T cells and B cells.

Only 29% of the mice taking laquinimod developed MS compared to 58% of those given the placebo. The researchers believe that the drug may help prevent MS, since there was a 96% reduction in harmful clusters of B cells.

In a second experiment that involved 22 mice, Dr Zamvil’s group gave the animals laquinimod after they had experienced some MS-linked paralysis. The disease progression among the mice slowed significantly as a result, the researchers found.

Disclosures: Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Teva, which manufactures laquinimod and provided the drug for the study.

Reference

Varrin-Doyer M, Pekarek KL, Spencer CM, et al. Treatment of spontaneous EAE by laquinimod reduces Tfh, B cell aggregates, and disease progressionNeurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2016 Sept 21; doi:10.​1212/​NXI.​0000000000000272.