Possible Multiple Sclerosis treatment from OTC drugs NIH sponsored study

A study published today in Nature shows that an inexpensive antifungal and a steroid available over the counter may reverse cell damage which causes multiple sclerosis.

Associate professor Paul J. Tesar, Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, authored the study which addressed a potential cheaper way to repair the myelin sheath which deteriorates in MS patients.

Researchers have found that these drugs might activate stem cells in the brain to stimulate myelin producing cells and thereby potentially repair the “white matter” damaged in multiple sclerosis.

Oligodendrocytes (cells) produce layers of the insulating fatty white substance myelin around the long axions which connect brain cells.

In MS the myelin breaks down causing muscle weakness, and other physical problems such as balance. This may be caused by an autoimmune problem.

“Dr. Tesar’s team found that two compounds in particular, miconazole (an antifungal) and clobetasol (a steroid), stimulated mouse and human OPCs into generating myelin-producing cells.”

Najm et al. “Drug-based modulation of endogenous stem cells promotes functional remyelination in vivo,” Nature, April 20, 2015.