HealthDay News — An experimental drug, laquinimod, appears to prevent or slow the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice, according to a study published online September 21 in Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation.

Scott Zamvil, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues used 50 mice bred to develop a spontaneous form of MS. The mice received either a daily dose of oral laquinimod, or a placebo. The investigators then analyzed and counted the rodents’ T cells and B cells.

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Only 29% of the mice taking laquinimod developed MS compared to 58% of those given the placebo. The researchers believe that the drug may help prevent MS, since there was a 96% reduction in harmful clusters of B cells.

In a second experiment that involved 22 mice, Zamvil’s group gave the animals laquinimod after they had experienced some MS-linked paralysis. The disease progression among the mice slowed significantly as a result, the researchers found.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Teva, which manufactures laquinimod and provided the drug for the study.

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