In a preclinical model, intranasal administration of an anti-inflammatory drug helped to reduce multiple sclerosis (MS) disease progression, according to a recent study published in GLIA

MS has no known cause or cure and can be devastating for those living with it. Inflammation, the driving force in MS, causes a loss of myelin in the brain, which acts as a sort of insulation for nerves in the brain.

Investigators identified a drug called VX-765, a promising MS therapy that works by inhibiting caspase-1. Caspase-1 is a component of inflammasomes that promotes harmful inflammation. 

The drug was dissolved and delivered intranasally to a mouse model, according to the study. PET scans were used to look at brain metabolism to determine whether the therapeutic was delivered. 

Investigators found that the therapy prevented demyelination and axon injury and loss. According to the study, this means that it could be effective in preventing the same thing from happening in patients with MS, helping to reduce disease progression. 

"The study shows intranasal therapy is effective in preventing demyelination and axon injury and loss, so that's a real tonic for us to keep going," Christopher Power, PhD, said in the press release. "The loss of myelin and loss of nerves are irreversible processes, so any therapeutic that helps to slow or prevent that from happening is an exciting advance for MS research. The particular delivery method also allows the therapy to be delivered in a more precise and targeted way." 

Reference:
Anti-inflammatory therapy shows promise in slowing progression of multiple sclerosis [News Release] October 20, 2020; Alberta, Canada. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/uoaf-ats102020.php. Accessed October 21, 2020.