MAY 12, 2019 3:11 PM PDT

Potential of Statins to Treat Multiple Sclerosis

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

health.harvard.edu

A widely used therapeutic statin, simvastatin, which is intended to treat cholesterol was found to be medically beneficial for patients with secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS).

"Although this study cannot provide a final answer as to what exactly is the reason for the success of statins in progressive MS, it directs future researchers toward certain pathways," said lead author, Dr Arman Eshaghi (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology). "This paves the way to find better drug targets for an incurable disease such as MS."

Generally, multiple sclerosis (MS) affects how people walk, move, see, think, and feel and there is currently no cure for MS with little effective treatment for the secondary form.

Learn more about Multiple Sclerosis (MS):

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), simvastatin was reanalyzed from earlier studies of Multiple Sclerosis-Statins trial data. The analysis resulted in a hypothesis that causal associations between simvastatin and the brain changes it leads to are a result of either directly or indirectly changing the patient's peripheral cholesterol level.

"Simvastatin is one of the most promising treatment prospects for secondary progressive MS in our lifetime. People with this form of the condition have been waiting decades for a drug that works, which is why there's such excitement around being able to start the trial," said Professor Chataway, who is leading the trial and is a co-author on the PNAS paper.

To examine if a reduction in cholesterol levels resulted in a positive impact on brain atrophy and on disability, two computational models were developed—a cholesterol-mediated model and a cholesterol-independent model. In the cholesterol-mediated model, the effects of simvastatin on clinical measures and brain atrophy were brought by changes in cholesterol. The cholesterol-independent model, simvastatin was shown to have a direct effect on the clinical and MRI outcome measures that are independent of the effects on serum cholesterol levels.

"Statins are naturally occurring, produced by some fungi, meaning that unlike most drugs that are designed for specific targets, they have (still after two decades of use in heart diseases) several unknown effects, and that is why this study is so important,” says Dr Eshaghi. "My study tells us that statins help patients with MS for reasons different from how they help people lower their cholesterol. For example, statins can modulate other elements that are produced in the pathways before cholesterol, but have indirect effects on the immune system."

Source: Science Daily

 

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
FEB 20, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Deep Brain Stimulation Offsets Epileptic Seizures
FEB 20, 2021
Deep Brain Stimulation Offsets Epileptic Seizures
Researchers from the University of Freiburg in Germany have found that deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the brain’s ...
MAR 09, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Leprosy Drug Repurposed for Potential COVID19 Treatment
MAR 09, 2021
Leprosy Drug Repurposed for Potential COVID19 Treatment
New research published in Nature study shows that a drug for treating leprosy was repurposed to treat COVID19. The study ...
MAY 03, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Low Dose Radiation May Improve Symptoms of Alzheimer's
MAY 03, 2021
Low Dose Radiation May Improve Symptoms of Alzheimer's
While high doses of radiation are known to be harmful, low doses may be able to help the body protect and repair. And no ...
MAY 04, 2021
Health & Medicine
Micro-dosing Inhaler Breakthrough for Medical Cannabis
MAY 04, 2021
Micro-dosing Inhaler Breakthrough for Medical Cannabis
In a leap that will eliminate the risks of vaping or smoking, Canada has just approved an Israeli-made inhaler that is a ...
MAY 17, 2021
Immunology
Understanding Inflammation: A Faster, Easier Way to Detect Cytokines in Cells
MAY 17, 2021
Understanding Inflammation: A Faster, Easier Way to Detect Cytokines in Cells
Inflammation, a process that was meant to defend our body from infection, has been found to contribute to a wide range o ...
JUN 07, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Overcoming Challenges to Detect Apoptosis in 3D Cell Structures
JUN 07, 2021
Overcoming Challenges to Detect Apoptosis in 3D Cell Structures
Researchers are increasingly relying on cells grown in three-dimensional (3D) structures to help answer their research q ...
Loading Comments...