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New Multiple Sclerosis Drug May Reverse Damage

multiple sclerosis drug

Scientists have discovered a new drug for multiple sclerosis that may help reverse the damage to the myelin associated with the disease. So far, study results have been positive and further testing of the new drug is in the pipeline.


An experimental multiple sclerosis drug is being tested to see if it may reverse damage to myelin. Thus far, no other treatments have been able to fix damage that has already occurred in people with MS.

The myelin is a substance that protects the nerves in the central nervous system. Demyelination of the nerves, or destruction of myelin, is the main cause of disability in people with multiple sclerosis.

Previously, animal studies revealed that the drug, which the scientists have called anti-LINGO-1 or BIIBO33, was able to reverse and destruction of the myelin. With that success under their belts, the researchers tested the drug in a phase I trial that included 47 people who had either relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis or secondary progressive MS and 72 healthy individuals without MS.

How the new drug works
Anti-LINGO-1 works by blocking the activity of a protein called LINGO-1. This protein prevents myelination, the process by which a fatty substance (myelin) accumulates around and protects neurons (nerve cells).

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Doses of 0.1 to 100 mg/kg or anti-LINGO-1 or placebo were given to both groups of participants. The healthy subjects received either one dose of the drug or placebo while the people with multiple sclerosis were given either placebo or two doses of the drug two weeks apart.

Since this was a phase I trial, the researchers were looking at the safety and tolerability of the drug. They found that:

  • Side effects were similar in both groups of participants regardless of whether they received the drug or placebo
  • None of the participants experienced any significant changes in their vital signs or other safety tests involving anti-LINGO-1
  • When doses of anti-LINGO-1 were 10 mg/kg or greater, the results were highly favorable—they reached 90 percent of the maximum remyelination effect that was seen in the animal studies

Bottom line
What do these results mean for people who have multiple sclerosis? For now, they must wait to see if future clinical trials continue the promising trend seen in the animal and phase I studies. According to one of the study’s authors, Diego Cadavid, MD, of Biogen Idec, the findings thus far mean they can “start phase II studies to see whether this drug can actually repair the lost myelin in humans” and what impact the drug has on “restoring physical and cognitive function and improving disability.”

Also read about stem cell breakthrough for multiple sclerosis
Learn about Ampyra and MS
Read about the Tecfidera controversy

Tran JQ et al. Randomized phase I trials of the safety/tolerability of anti-LINGO-1 monoclonal antibody BIIB033. Neurology, Neuroimmunology, and Neuroinflammation 2014 Aug 27; 1(2): e18



Interested in any case studies, so I can WALK again!!
Cindy: I plan to follow the progress of any clinical trials on this drug. Hopefully the results will be positive!
This is very exciting! My daughter was 21 when she was diagnosed with MS. She is now 32 and is doing good on tsarbri.
Bottom line...... We must wait. Months. Years? Some of us have nothing to lose
Dear Lord..I HOPE that this works and soon before i get much worse.Wish i knew where the trials are held! We ALL need something like this so we can live again rather than exist.
Thank you Shelley, Pam, and Stephen for your comments. Whenever I write about MS and other serious debilitating conditions for which there are no effective treatments, I too get frustrated by hearing that it will take time--probably years--before something more definitive can be offered. I guess all I can say is, at least there are many people who are trying to make lives better. We must be thankful for their efforts.
Very exciting and all of us hope and pray for success in this research.
Hi I am Vanitha, I'm from Malaysia. I've had MS since I was 21+ now I am 39 years of age. Have become worst, not able to walk very much, the pain is excruciating, my bladder has given up on me as well. I would appreciate if I am kept informed in any development, on this drug. Thank you for everybody's efforts. I do hope for a cure soon
Vanitha: Thank you for sharing your story. I intend to keep up with the progress concerning this drug and other developments involving MS. Best to you.
I have PPMS and it is always progressing. I pray this drug will continue to show improvements and give us a better quality of life.
Hoping for a sustainable treatment. Sign me up for clinical trials.
Lisa: Thank you for writing. Anyone interested in participating in a clinical trial should talk to their healthcare providers. Information about ongoing and trials about to recruit can be found on the clinicaltrials.gov website.
Have any of you checked into CCSVI and the effects of delayed blood flow out of the brain?? If not you should!! Tons of new research is being done right now for MS and improving our lives. CCSVI gave me back about ten years of damage I also no longer have MS in my eyes and my EDSS went from 4.5 to a 1.5, it is worth researching....
I was diagnosed at the age of 30 with RRMS, although I'd been having symptoms since I was 25. I'm 33 now any happy with Tysabri so far, but I'd LOVE to see a drug available that could reverse demyelination.