Monday, November 22, 2010

University of Colorado Boulder research may lead to drug to address pain, paralysis of MS


BOULDER, Colo. -- Research at the University of Colorado Boulder may lead to a drug that would address both the pain and paralysis of multiple sclerosis, or MS.

The obvious symptoms of MS are tremors and paralysis. But the majority of people with MS also suffer from chronic pain, for which there are currently no available drugs, says Linda Watkins, a distinguished professor of Neuroscience at CU. So her team set out to test chronic pain treatments and what they found exceeded their expectations.

"What was surprising was that they had such dramatic effects on arresting and reversing paralysis as well," says Watkins.

They found a single injection of an anti-inflammatory drug into the spines of rats stopped MS-related paralysis for weeks at a time. That research in Watkins laboratory was led by Lisa Loram, a senior research associate.

Watkins doesn't yet know whether the paralysis is simply halted, or whether it is reversed. She hopes the work will lead to clinical trials for a drug that could help both pain and paralysis.