Treat and reverse multiple sclerosis with chronic pain medicine

When the researchers injected rats with an anti-inflammatory drug called ATL313, the rats showed that paralysis usually caused by the inflammatory disease actually stopped for a couple of weeks.

Linda Watkins discovered that a chronic pain medication might be used to treat and possibly reverse the progression of multiple sclerosis . Or at least that's the case in rats. Watkins, a researcher at University of Colorado at Boulder, is seeing promising results in the lab.

Watkins injected rats with an anti-inflammatory drug called ATL313. Surprisingly, Watkins noticed that paralysis in rats (caused by the inflammatory disease) actually stopped for a couple of weeks.

Normally when MS progresses, lesions and scars in the brain don't heal and neurological problems ensue. Right now, it's unclear if the drug is actually healing the lesions in the rats' brains, but Watkins plans to use spinal cord and brain imaging to find out.

"What happens now with MS drugs is they slow or stop the progression of MS, but they don't treat it," Watkins said in a statement. "They don't take people back to normal because the lesions caused by MS don't heal."

"If we have a drug that is able to heal these lesions, this treatment could be a major breakthrough in how we treat the symptoms of MS in the future," she added.

The results were presented at a conference for the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego. The chronic pain drug appears to reset nervous system cells called glial cells, which makes the cells switch from wanting to destroy the body to fix it.

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