Site Search

Estriol to be studied as MS treatment in UCLA trial

By Brendan Borrell
December 15, 2008

To try to develop kinder and more effective treatments for MS, Dr. Rhonda Voskuhl, director of the UCLA multiple sclerosis program, is reexamining the natural history of the disease.

Women get MS three to four times more often than men, and they tend to get it at a younger age, in their late 20s rather than their early 40s. It has also long been known that pregnant women with MS exhibit an 80% drop in their symptoms during their third trimester -- a larger drop than the 60% reduction seen with natalizumab (Tysabri).

In the late 1990s, Voskuhl discovered that the female sex hormone, estriol, could suppress MS-like symptoms in a mouse model of the disease. Estriol is used in Europe for hormone replacement therapy in post-menopausal women and is considered one of the safest estrogen hormones. In 2003, Voskuhl ran a pilot study giving estriol to 10 nonpregnant women with MS and found that the women showed an 80% decline in inflammatory lesions in their brain.

Because drug companies are rarely interested in funding trials for compounds not protected by patents, Voskuhl has spent five years piecing together funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Southern California Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to run a two-year trial at several sites with about 130 patients. She is still enlisting patients for this trial, in which patients taking the approved therapeutic Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) are compared with those taking Copaxone and estriol. (Call [310] 825-7313 to enroll).

"Estriol would be given very early, it would be very safe, and it would be a pill," she says. "But it's not proven -- so we'll work on it."

Original source: http://www.latimes.com

Upcoming EventsSupport the BRI!

Upcoming EventsNEUROSCIENCE NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
Current Edition of Neuroscience News

Upcoming EventsFEATURED ARTICLE
Sleep well, breathe easy - Distinguished Professor Ronald Harper to deliver 21st annual H.W. Magoun Lecture

BRI NewsIN THE NEWS
 One Animal Researcher Refuses to Hide

 BRI News Archive

 Newsroom.ucla.edu

Upcoming EventsUPCOMING EVENTS

 Joint Seminars in Neuroscience

 Neuroscience Seminars biweekly calendar