MS Progression May Be Stopped By New Anti-inflammatory Molecule

MS Progression May Be Stopped By New Anti-inflammatory Molecule

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the oldest research center in Australia, developed a molecule that may quell inflammation and stop the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). The molecule could eventually be used as a drug for the disease.

MS is an inflammatory autoimmune disease in which the body attacks myelin, the fatty covering that surrounds nerve cell fibers. This prevents effective communication in the nervous system between cells, and pain, loss of movement, loss of vision and problems with sensation can result. No cure currently exists, and new and better treatments to stop MS from progressing are greatly needed — targeting inflammation could be one strategy for new drugs.

Dr. Ueli Nachbur, Associate Professor John Silke, Associate Professor Guillaume LesseneProfessor Andrew Lew and co-workers conducted the new research on addressing inflammation as a therapeutic approach for MS. “Inflammation results when our immune cells release hormones called cytokines, which is a normal response to disease,” Nachbur said. “However when too many cytokines are produced, inflammation can get out-of-control and damage our own body, all of which are hallmarks of immune or inflammatory diseases.”

The researchers created a small drug-like molecule known as WEHI-345. It inhibits a key immune signaling protein called RIPK2 by binding to it, halting inflammatory molecules, called cytokines, from being released by immune cells.

Lew described how WEHI-345 was tested in experimental models of MS.

“We treated preclinical models with WEHI-345 after symptoms of MS first appeared, and found it could prevent further progression of the disease in 50 per cent of cases,” he said. “These results are extremely important, as there are currently no good preventive treatments for MS.”

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According to Lessene, who created WEHI-345 at the ACRF Chemical Biology division of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the compound may be a potent anti-inflammatory drug. “This molecule will be a great starting point for a drug-discovery program that may one day lead to new treatments for MS and other inflammatory diseases,” remarked Lessene.

Nachbur commented on future studies of how the RIPK2 signaling pathway is impacted by WEHI-345. “This signaling pathway must be finely balanced, because WEHI-345 only delayed signaling rather than blocked it. Nevertheless, this delay is enough to completely shut off cytokine production,” he explained. “Not only is this a potential new treatment, it is a great tool we can use to unravel this signaling pathway and identify other important proteins that control inflammation that could be a drug target.”

The research was published March 17 in the journal Nature Communications. The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Australian Research Council and the Victorian Government all funded the work.


  1. Judy Epstein says:

    Great! How many years of Trials will be needed before it is release to the public? And what are the side effects?

  2. Eddie says:

    What is the point of testing it in mice to save their lives while we are the ones that have no life ?.

    I sometimes wish I was a mouse 🙂

  3. Dave says:

    So all these studies with Mice and we know how to GIVE them MS to test them but we dont know how to cure MS. Things that make you go hummmmmmm.

  4. Alisa Woods, PhD says:

    They need to test in mice first in order to assess safety. You wouldn’t want to start off by testing a drug in humans, since it could have dangerous side effects. You also want to know that it might work before you use it in people.

    • Eddie says:

      Ok but at some point you need to stop the research and provide something and learn from how it does. It seems that you are not worried about the millions of MS sufferers that suffer from MS and wake up everyday wishing for a break from the disease but they end up depressed about the reality because they can t function so pushing this solution that worked on mice to help the real people that need it is never a priority. Why does this thing take too long? A lot of people dont even care about my safety like myself …I have no life so it this didnt kill a mouse why its gonna kill a stronger creation?

      • Judy Epstein says:

        Well said. I couldn’t agree more! It seems that the researchers are more interested in covering their backs and obtaining funding…

  5. Pingback: Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month Offers New Hope To Sufferers – The Inquisitr | Multiple Sclerosis
  6. puma says:

    Does anyone wonder about the billions of mice that are tortured (they are creatures that have nervous systems!) in order to arrive at the conclusion that what is true of mice cannot be replicated in humans? By the way I have SPMS for which research does not even bother so I feel better about my type of MS and poor mice.

  7. Jamie Thackeray says:

    I know this may sound harsh, but I do believe that testing in mice is not as cruel as it may sound. You have to think which species is closest to that of a human being, their behavioural and biological characteristics resemble us, therefore testing in rodents makes a lot of sense.

    For those who believe that all these test samples shouldn’t be done on mice then please tell me which specie you would recommend.

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  9. Dave says:

    Does any ms sufferer within this blog have any information on stem cell therapy and it’s success or failure? Always curious on what may be up and coming. Just looking for hope.

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