JUPITER - Researchers in South Florida have developed a drug that treats multiple sclerosis in mice, without suppressing their entire immune systems. They think the compound could also fight other autoimmune disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. [audio:http://eunalhee.com/wp-content/uploads/Lhee_MSdrug.mp3|artists=Lhee|titles=MSdrug]
They also think the drug could have two main advantages over existing therapies, if it works in humans. For one, it could be swallowed as a pill, instead of being injected into the bloodstream.
Also, lead researcher Tom Burris said the drug would target specific cells instead of attacking the whole immune system.
"So we see it more as a magic bullet to target the source of the disease rather than a carpet bombing to destroy the entire or suppress the entire immune system, which, of course, carries a lot of side effects," Burris said.
Burris would like to test the drug in mice with other autoimmune disorders. He thinks the pill could be in human clinical trials in several years.
The study was published last week in the journal Nature. [HealthyState.org | FPR Spot]