A medication already being researched for cancer might have another application, for multiple sclerosis. New research suggests that a cancer drug called GANT61 could promote the growth of new myelin.
In mouse models of multiple sclerosis (MS), experimental cancer drugs have shown therapeutic promise, according to findings published in the journal Nature.
Researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center aimed to characterize the effect on remyelination in adult neural stem cells in mice models using the experimental cancer drug called GANT61 over a six year period. The drug is designed to block the ability of protein Gli1, which is a part of the “sonic hedgehog signaling” process. That biological pathway closely tied to neural stem cells and can affect the growth of some cancers. The signaling was heightened in tissue samples taken from brain lesions in human MS patients.
The mice used in the study were administered GANT61 daily for one month while other, non medicated mice served as the control subjects. The drugged mice showed 50 percent more myelin at the end of the observation period when compared to the non medicated mice, the researchers found. Additionally, the GANT61 treated mice demonstrated an eightfold increase in the number of neural stem cells that had moved to the myelin damaged areas of the mice’s brain, when compared to the non medicated mice. Those cells eventually developed into myelin producing oligodendrocytes, the researchers said, and added that the untreated mice did not display this increased cell count.
Another interesting finding the researchers highlighted was that the treated mice coped well and recovered from MS like paralysis and leg weaknesses, while the untreated mice suffered from leg and bladder weaknesses. Those symptoms are frequently experienced by MS patients.
Read Full Article: Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms Reduced with Experimental Cancer Drug