By Kara Vickery
An inflammation-inhibiting drug could be the key to slowing the progression of motor neurone disease, new research has found.
In a significant breakthrough in the fight against the debilitating terminal disease, Queensland researchers have shown the drug slowed the progression of MND in mice and prolonged their survival.
University of Queensland associate professor Trent Woodruff said the drug, known as PMX205, extended the life of the mice by up to 12 days.
“If you translate that into potentially what could happen in humans, it’s very difficult, but it could be several months, six months or so to a year,” he said.
“In a disease that has quite a rapid onset and death within two to three years, extending anything would be quite beneficial.”
A degenerative disorder, MND affects more than 2000 Australians, according to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and has no cure.
Prof Woodruff said the study, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, also found the inflammation-fighting drug doubled the muscle strength of mice at certain stages of the disease.
“(In humans) this potentially means they wouldn’t have to go into a wheelchair as soon as they would normally and certainly would be able to retain a lot of their motor function a lot longer,” he said.
“That could actually translate to a potentially good clinical benefit in patients.”
He said they were now working towards approval for human trials, with results expected within three years.
The research was presented at the Wesley Medical Research neuroscience symposium in Brisbane yesterday.