A drug originally developed to treat leukemia has shown promising results for multiple sclerosis patients in the United Kingdom.
MS is an auto-immune disease that affects millions of people, including 400,000 in the United States alone.
It is caused by the body's immune system attacking nerve fibres in the central nervous system. It can lead to loss of sight and mobility, depression, fatigue and cognitive problems. There is no cure, and few effective treatments.
Reseachers at the University of Cambridge performed clinical trials on the medication called alemtuzumab and found it reduced the number of attacks in MS patients and helped them recover lost functions.
"We are witnessing a drug which, if given early enough, might effectively stop the advancement of the disease and also restore lost function by promoting repair of the damaged brain tissue," said Dr. Alasdair Coles, a lecturer at Cambridge university's department of clinical neurosciences, who coordinated many aspects of the study.
More studies are planned before the drug is released as an MS treatment.