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'Designer Estrogen' Identified As Potential MS Drug

Date:
August 28, 2007
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
While people with multiple sclerosis have many choices for anti-inflammatory drugs to help prevent flare-ups of their physical symptoms, no medication exists to stop MS from causing degeneration of the brain and spinal cord. Now a study finds that a new form of estrogen protects the brain without increasing the risk of hormone-induced cancers of the breast and uterus.

Healthy spinal cord tissue (left) shows a similar number of neurons (magnified in red) as MS-infected spinal cord tissue (right) in mice that have been treated with a specific form of estrogen. Less neurons are found in the spinal cords of mice whose disease went untreated (center).
Credit: Seema Tiwari-Woodruff/UCLA

UCLA scientists have found the first evidence that a specific form of estrogen can protect the brain from degeneration yet not increase the risk for estrogen-induced cancers of the breast and uterus. The study took place in mice infected with the animal equivalent of multiple sclerosis.

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While people with MS have many choices for anti-inflammatory drugs to help prevent flare-ups of their physical symptoms, no medication exists to stop the disorder from causing degeneration of the brain and spinal cord. The UCLA findings offer potential for a "designer estrogen" that doctors could prescribe in higher doses without increasing a patient's cancer risk, as well as a potent MS cocktail blending the hormone with a standard anti-inflammatory treatment.

This form of estrogen also offers a new weapon for combating brain degeneration caused by Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's disease, spinal cord injury and even normal aging. Finally, men may be able to use it without fear of developing the feminine side effects often produced by standard estrogen treatments.

Researchers Dr. Rhonda Voskuhl, Jack H. Skirball Chair in Multiple Sclerosis Research and professor of neurology; and Seema Tiwari-Woodruff, assistant professor of neurology are both from the UCLA Multiple Sclerosis Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and National Multiple Sclerosis Society supported the research.

The study appears in the Aug. 27 -- 31 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "'Designer Estrogen' Identified As Potential MS Drug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070827174327.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2007, August 28). 'Designer Estrogen' Identified As Potential MS Drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070827174327.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "'Designer Estrogen' Identified As Potential MS Drug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070827174327.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

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