A Canadian clinical trial led by researchers at the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), shows that minocycline, a common acne medication, can slow the progress of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in people who have recently experienced their first symptoms. In addition to being an unexpected discovery - an acne drug benefitting a neurological disorder - the discovery is significant as it offers a safe and affordable treatment option for those with early onset MS. This discovery could impact thousands of newly diagnosed MS patients around the world. The results of the Phase 3 clinical trial were published in the June 1, 2017 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial included 142 participants between the ages of 18 and 60 across 12 Canadian sites including: Vancouver, Burnaby, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, London, Montreal, Quebec City, and Halifax. MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. The drug works by reducing the inflammation. The NEJM article is titled “Trial of Minocycline in a Clinically Isolated Syndrome of Multiple Sclerosis.” In Canada, the cost of current therapies for relapsing-remitting MS typically falls in the range of $20,000 to $40,000 per year; the minocycline treatment would cost a fraction of that at about $600 per year. In the United States, MS treatment often costs about three times as much as in Canada.
Login Or Register To Read Full Story