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Clinical Benefit Of Multiple Sclerosis Drug Discovered

Posted Apr 06 2010 3:02pm

A drug whose clinical benefit in treating multiple sclerosis was discovered at Rush University Medical Center was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on January 22 and is now available in the U.S.

The drug, called dalfampridine, is the first therapy for multiple sclerosis that can be taken orally. It is also the first FDA-approved therapy to treat impaired walking, a debilitating symptom of the disease limiting patients’ independence and ability to accomplish the most basic tasks of daily living. While other multiple sclerosis drugs work by decreasing the inflammation that causes damage to the central nervous system, dalfampridine is designed to allow conduction of nerve impulses despite the damage.

Research that led to the discovery of dalfampridine’s therapeutic value dates back to the 1960s, when Dr. Floyd Davis, then a neurologist in training and later a physician at Rush, became intrigued by an unusual clinical observation: many multiple sclerosis patients fare better when their body temperature is slightly lowered, even by just two- or three-tenths of a degree.

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