Researchers of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Ill, have developed a new class of drug engineered to reduce inflammation in the brain that may offer treatment implications for multiple sclerosis (MS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, according to a recent news release. 

Previous animal studies suggest that one of the new Northwestern drugs assisted in reducing the neurological damage caused by closed-head traumatic brain injury and inhibited the development of a MS-like disease. Researchers add that in each disease, studies indicate that the therapy time window plays a key role. 

The release reports that the new class of drugs, which are represented by MW151 and MW189, are designed to prevent the overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines. According to researchers, the overproduction of these proteins may contribute to the development of many degenerative neurological diseases as well as to the neurological damage caused by TBI and stroke. 

This inflammatory mechanism appears to play a vital role in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders, says D.Martin Watterson, PhD, professor of molecular pharmacology and biological chemistry at Feinberg, developer of one the drugs that holds promise in preventing the development of Alzheimer’s. 

One of the studies used to assess the impact of the MW151 drug centered on mice that were induced to develop an MS-like disease. The MW151 drug was administered orally. The results suggested that the drug inhibited the development of the disease, decreasing its severity. Researchers emphasize that the study is ongoing and its results will dictate whether a patient trial will be developed.

Another study using a mouse model focused on the drug’s effect on TBI. Researchers report that when the MW151 was given during an early therapeutic window 3 hours to 6 hours after the injury, it blocked glial activation and prevented the flood of proinflammatory cytokines following TBI. “If you took a drug like this early on after TBI or stroke, you could possibly prevent the long-term complications of that injury including the risk of seizures, cognitive impairment and, perhaps, mental health issues,” notes Mark Wainright, MD, PhD, professor of pediatric neurology at Feinberg, physician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

The release also notes that Wainright reinforced this concept in a previous study, in which MW151 was administered following TBI and reportedly prevented to the increased risk of epileptic seizures. 

Source: Northwestern University Feinburg School of Medicine