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Use of statins to control multiple sclerosis to go into large trials

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/19/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Cholesterol-lowering pills slow brain shrinkage in MS patients

The University College London has announced that large trials in the use of statins to control multiple sclerosis, or MS can now begin. According to the medical journal the Lancet, early trial results show the cholesterol-lowering pills slow brain shrinkage in people with MS.

Researchers believe statins may have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties that can guard the nerves from damage.

Researchers believe statins may have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties that can guard the nerves from damage.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/19/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Statins, multiple scelrosis, medical trials


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The trials will confirm whether statins benefit MS patients by slowing progression of the disease and easing their symptoms.

Half of all MS patients after 10 years go on to develop more advanced disease - known as secondary progressive MS. It is this later stage disease that Dr. Jeremy Chataway and colleagues at UCL hope to treat with low cost statins.

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No licensed drugs to date have shown a convincing impact on this later stage of the disease.

As published in the Lancet, Dr. Chataway's team, for their phase two trial randomly assigned 140 people with secondary progressive MS to receive either 80 milligrams of a statin called simvastatin -- or a placebo for two years.

The high, daily dose of simvastatin was well tolerated and slowed brain shrinkage by 43 percent over two years compared with the placebo.

"Caution should be taken regarding over-interpretation of our brain imaging findings, because these might not necessarily translate into clinical benefit. However, our promising results warrant further investigation in larger phase three disability-driven trials," Dr. Chataway says.

Researchers believe statins may have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties that can guard the nerves from damage.

Jacqueline Palace from the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and Neil Robertson from Cardiff University in Wales, in an accompanying editorial, said the trial represented a promising starting point in the quest to find a treatment for secondary progressive MS.

"There are no treatments that can stop the condition from worsening in people with progressive MS," Dr. Susan Kohlhaas, head of biomedical research at the MS Society, says. "Scientists have worked for years to find a potential treatment that could help people, and now, finally, one has been found that might. This is very exciting news.

"Further, larger clinical trials are now absolutely crucial to confirm the safety and effectiveness of this treatment."

MS remains a major cause of disability. The condition affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, which causes problems with muscle movement, balance and vision. There is currently no cure, although there are treatments that can help in the early stages of the disease.

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