New Compound Tested in Lab Shows Promise for Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Click here to receive MS news via e-mail

Exploratory research conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Illinois at Chicago may translate into a new therapeutic agent to treat progressive multiple sclerosis. Researchers in the laboratories of Dr. Jefferey L. Dupree and Dr. Douglas L. Feinstein tested a new compound in mice with induced multiple sclerosis and found that the compound reduced neurodegeneration and helped improve symptoms.

The compound, lanthionine ketimine, is a naturally occurring molecule that binds to collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP2), which is a protein found in the brain that helps regulate vital neuronal activities. In order to use this compound to treat mice with induced multiple sclerosis, the researchers needed to chemically modify it into a cell-permeable state. The resulting molecule was lanthionine ketimine ethyl-ester (LKE), which was shown to promote neurogenesis and healthy nervous system function.

As explained in the journal article, “Lanthionine Ketimine Ester Provides Benefit in a Mouse Model of Multiple Sclerosis,” which was published in Journal of Neurochemistry, the authors induced multiple sclerosis in mice using the well-accepted model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). After mice began to show moderate clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis, the researchers mixed LKE into the animals’ food so that mice were treated whenever they decided to eat.

After four weeks of ingesting LKE, mice had lower levels of inflammation than those that did not receive LKE but were induced with EAE. LKE-treated mice also showed lower degeneration of the optic nerve and spinal cord, showing only minimal damage to the myelin sheath around the axons. The protective effect was more pronounced in the optic nerve, but the spinal cord also showed great benefit from LKE treatment.

If the researchers continue to pursue LKE and design a well-controlled dosing study in other animal models of multiple sclerosis, the compound may be a potential candidate for clinical trials in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis. “Only few drugs have been shown to reduce neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis,” stated the authors. By identifying neuronal protection in the spinal cord and optic nerve, the researchers showed that LKE is a novel and strong candidate for testing in progressive multiple sclerosis.

Click here to receive MS news via e-mail


  1. Scott Dunaway says:

    I am 49 years old and I was diagnosed with progressive MS three years ago. Though I have never had an exacerbation I have gone from working in the yard all day long to not being able to get to the car. I am desperately running out of time someone please help.

    • John says:

      Mr. Dunaway-

      I have had ms for 35 diagnosed years.

      You sir, as you know, are most unfortunate.

      I was initially diagnosed with rr ms, later (about 15 years) as then termed chronic progressive. I believe my fortune lies with 2 facts.
      1) have had the same neurologist for all my diagnosed years
      2) somewhat agressive treatment. ( I say this not through any “real knowledge”, but rather my experiences)

      Perhaps a physician you can trust to do what is right for you-you the individual is paramount. That is, you and your doc make determined decisions. This comes across as “duh”, or similar reaction but the (and this too sounds “mushy”) good feelings I have toward my neurologist helps me mentally and that has helped me physically.

      I began with Betaseron ( the only drug available-released approx 3-5 yrs after diagnoses.) Then Avonex, Tysabri, Copaxone, all drugs for the rr type.
      I too was unable to move more than a few feet- it was, the shits.
      After a neurological visit, there, not more than I’ll say 50 feet away, was a psychiatrist office. I remember thinking, “What the hell,I’ll give it a go””.
      After the 1st visit (to, I assume the doc to determine I’m not totally bat-shit crazy) he recommended I try Adderall, a prescription amphetamine. I’ve been taking a generic version 10 mg 2 daily for many years.
      Without it, I am bound to the couch, to fatigue my life away.
      This sir, is a very brief synopsis of me and my relationship to ms.

      I remember after the diagnoses visit and after a good conversation with my doc, his words,(I paraphrase here) ” You will be informed of many success stories involving many self-proclaimed treatments. Should you decide to try one, call me first. Stick with the science.”
      I understand your prognosis is not good. I cannot offer any treatment- other than-
      I have not corresponded with other victims (yes victims) of ms. I have a friend here recently diagnosed with this damned disease- I can and will be at least someone who you can correspond with- and that sir, I hope can offer some relief.

      • Lisa J. Endres says:

        I feel the same way. I have Progressive MS too and am in a wheelchair or bed…real fun huh?
        Wishing you the best!

    • Lisa J. Endres says:

      I have the same symptoms. Am now confined to a wheelchair or bed. Have had progressive M S for many years. It drives me crazy too! All I know now is that we are stronger than we ever thought we were!
      Wishing you all the best, take care of you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *