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This Antidepressant May Help Battle the Course of Multiple Sclerosis

December 21, 2017

Clomipramine, an antidepressant, could possibly ease other symptoms of multiple sclerosis, primarily when it remains in it is in its progressive form. Drugs for progressive MS exist very rarely, so researchers collaborated with Professor V. Wee Yong from the University of Calgary and Dr. Simon Faissner from Ruhr-Universität Bochum decided they wanted to see that change. They screened 1,040 generic therapeutics and eventually identified that one of them is suitable for the treatment of MS.

While there are twelve drugs approved to treat relapsing-remitting MS, Simon Faissner said the progressive cases of MS involve different mechanisms causing damage to these patients, which requires a different kind of therapeutic approach.

Researchers used approved drugs that have already had their side effects sufficiently documented. They selected 249 of well-tolerated therapeutics that enter the nervous center, where chronic inflammation occurs in progressive MS, safely.  They tested which of these 249 therapeutics would be capable of protecting cells from the damaging influence of iron, which is released to due cell damage in MS patients, which ultimately damages these nerve cells. Thirty-five of these substances were found to have some potential; the researchers analyzed then regarding if they can reduce damage to the mitochondria, or if they minimize the activity of leucocytes that attack the insulation of nerve cells in MS patients. The drug clomipramine proved to be the most promising of all of these.

Next, researchers analyzed mice suffering from a disease similar to RRMS in humans and the therapy had entirely suppressed the neurological disturbances completely. In the end, inflammation and damages done to the nerve cells had been minimized. Shortly following this, mice with a disease similar to progressive MS were also treated, where the therapy also proved to be effective. Unlike animal controls that were treated with a placebo drug, symptoms such as paralysis were reduced in the mice. Although, the researchers did apply the therapy immediately following the first apparent clinical symptoms.

Simon Faissner explained that the long-term objective of the researchers is to study clomipramine as well as other therapeutics that had been selected during the screening process, based on promising preclinical data.