An already promising experimental drug for multiple sclerosis also may be useful against other autoimmune diseases, according to a new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, where it was discovered.
The drug, ozanimod, is being tested by biotech giant Celgene, which acquired it with last year’s $7.2 billion purchase of San Diego’s Receptos. Ozanimod was a key component of the deal because the orally given drug had shown great effectiveness in Phase 3 (late-stage) testing against multiple sclerosis. Ozanimod is also being tested for ulcerative colitis.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis include fatigue, difficulty in walking, numbness and tingling. The progression rate is variable, according to the disease subtype. Patients may experience long remissions followed by relapses. Worldwide, an estimated 2.5 million people have the disease, including about 400,000 in the United States, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
Ozanimod is known to inhibit abnormal infiltration of lymphocytes into the central nervous system. This infiltration leads to degradation of the protective nerve sheathing called myelin. Loss of myelin impairs nerve function, causing the multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Click here for the full article by Bradley J. Fikes, SD Union Tribune.