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Promising Drug for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Doesn’t Suppress Immune System and Has Few Side Effects

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have created a novel compound that prevents development of multiple sclerosis (MS) in animal models. The drug known as SR1001 has few side effects compared to current therapies due to its selective effects in the organism. The compound may become effective in multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases treatment.

Existing therapeutic approaches to multiple sclerosis treatment are based on suppressing the whole patient’s immune system. Therefore, they have various side effects. The new compound blocks only those mechanisms in the cells’ functioning that cause autoimmune reactions. So it doesn’t have side effects related to current ways of multiple sclerosis treatment.

The researchers previously studied small-molecule compounds that influence disease-related receptors (structures in cells that bind other molecules triggering some processes in cell). They were especially interested in receptors important for the development of T lymphocytes type called TH17 cells.

It was recently discovered that these cells produce a molecule causing inflammation, a characteristic of autoimmunity. They are involved in the development of different autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis. The scientists discovered that SR1001 can block TH17 cell signals and suppress autoimmune reactions. It was proved to be effective in the experiments with animals.

The drug doesn’t affect other types of T lymphocytes and can be taken orally. Several pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms contacted the scientists to demonstrate their interest in compound’s further investigation and bringing it to the market. Apparently, it will take some time to optimize the drug and test its efficacy and safety for humans.