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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Neurological Disorders Channel
Reported April 25, 2005

Diabetes Drug Helps Multiple Sclerosis

Diabetes Drug Helps Multiple SclerosisCHICAGO (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Nearly 350,000 Americans suffer from multiple sclerosis, a disease that strikes women twice as often as men. Some treatments are available for this crippling disease, but all require injections. Now a common diabetes drug could be the latest breakthrough for MS.

Eight-month-old Mariana has just arrived from Guatemala. Her adoptive mother, Marjorie Fujara, is ready for the challenges of motherhood, but at age 41, Marjorie faces a more serious challenge.

Eight years ago, doctors diagnosed Marjorie with multiple sclerosis. "It was devastating," she says. "My mother was diagnosed with MS and had a very aggressive course with hers."

Marjorie's mother died from MS after 12 years. Today, she is in a trial to test a new treatment -- a drug that is used for diabetes.

Diabetes Drug Helps Multiple SclerosisNeuroscientist Douglas Feinstein, Ph.D., of University of Illinois at Chicago, says, "The relationship between type 2 diabetes and multiple sclerosis -- there probably isn't any really strong correlation, and it's just a serendipitous discovery that we came across."

The drug pioglitazone is known to type 2 diabetes patients as Actos. Lab studies with the drug for MS look encouraging. If the study results continue to show promise, pioglitazone could become the first treatment for MS taken in pill form, eliminating the need for injections.

Diabetes Drug Helps Multiple SclerosisSo far, things are looking good for Marjorie. Her symptoms are not flaring up as often, and she has no side effects. "Just knowing there are people -- bright, dedicated researchers out there -- really gives me a lot of hope," she says.

This new drug trial for ms is nearly half over. Researchers at the University of Illinois expect to release the results in the spring of 2006. Researchers around the world are also testing this same drug for the treatment of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

This article was reported by, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: /newsalert/.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Sharon Butler
Office of Public Affairs
University of Illinois at Chicago
601 South Morgan MC 288
Chicago, IL 60607-7113
(312) 355-2522

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