MS drug research featured on ONE News

15 August 2014, Media coverage, Multiple Sclerosis

On Thursday night, 14 August 2014, Dr Anne La Flamme's latest Multiple Sclerosis research featured on TVNZ ONE News. Dr La Flamme, an Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington's School of Biological Sciences, heads the Malaghan Institute's MS programme.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects 1 in 1,400 New Zealanders.  It is characterised by immune-mediated nerve degeneration, leading to impaired vision, coordination and paralysis. There is no cure. While disease-modifying drugs are available, they are often effective in only a subset of MS patients.

In her interview with TVNZ ONE News Reporter Renee Graham, Dr La Flamme spoke about her work with two commonly prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, which she has shown reduce the symptoms and severity of MS disease in laboratory models.  Dr La Flamme’s research, published this week by international scientific journal PLOS ONE, demonstrates that risperidone and clozapine can reduce MS significantly by reducing the inflammation in the brain that causes this disease.

“While disease-modifying drugs are currently available, they are often effective in only a subpopulation of MS patients and all of these treatments target the disease through traditional immune pathways,” Dr La Flamme says.

Additionally, this research indicates that the way clozapine and risperidone improve disease outcomes in MS is different from how these agents work to treat mental health disorders.

“By utilising existing therapies, this work may more quickly support improved outcomes for people with MS,” says Dr La Flamme.