- reduces nerve damage by nearly halving the speed of brain shrinkage
- Ibudilast works by reducing inflammation in the brain and slowing cell death
- This could control nerve damage caused by progressive multiple sclerosis
- Around 10 to 15,000 people in the UK could have the severe form of the disease
A new drug could offer a ray of hope to thousands of multiple sclerosis patients after it almost halved the speed of brain shrinkage in a trial.
People suffering from a severe, progressive form of the nerve disease could be helped by a pill called ibudilast.
The medication is thought to work by reducing inflammation and cell deaths in the brain, minimising the loss of vital tissue.
Ibudilast is aimed at people with the less common primary or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), for whom the condition is constant and hard to control.
Researchers are not certain how the drug works but said that after almost two years people had 'more brain' remaining than those who didn't take the drug.
More than 100,000 people in Britain are thought to have MS as well as 400,000 Americans, and 10-15 per cent of those have the progressive form of the incurable disease.
Ibudilast reduced the amount of brain shrinkage by an average of 48 per cent among people who took the drug for nearly two years, suggesting it could slow degeneration caused by MS.
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