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Natural, soy-based substance might help fight MS, Jefferson neuroscientists find

(PHILADELPHIA) -- A natural substance made from soy appears to have amazing restorative powers when given to animals with a multiple sclerosis (MS)-like disease.

Using an animal model of MS, neurologists at Jefferson Medical College found that giving doses of a substance called Bowmann-Birk Inhibitor Concentrate (BBIC) dramatically improved the animals ability to move and walk. The scientists, led by A. M. Rostami, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience in Philadelphia, say the treatments effects may be useful in conjunction with more mainstream therapies such as beta-interferon in helping patients with MS. They report their findings December 12, 2006 in the journal Multiple Sclerosis.

MS, one of the most common neurological diseases affecting young adults, is thought to be an autoimmune disease (in which the body attacks its own tissue) affecting the central nervous system (CNS). In MS, the myelin coating of nerve fibers becomes inflamed and scarred. As a result, messages cannot be sent through the nervous system.

Dr. Rostami, who is also director of the Neuroimmunology Laboratory in the Department of Neurology at Jefferson Medical College, and his group used an animal model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), which mimics MS, to investigate BBICs potential immune system-suppressing properties. BBIC inhibits proteases, enzymes that play important roles in the inflammation and demyelination processes that are at the heart of MS. It has been used for other conditions, notably precancerous conditions in the mouth.

He and his co-workers compared two groups of animals with EAE. One group received BBIC, while the other received only an inert substance. Animals that received BBIC were able to walk while those that didnt get the drug were not, he says. He notes that the animals arent
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Contact: Steve Benowitz
steven.benowitz@jefferson.edu
215-955-5291
Thomas Jefferson University
12-Dec-2006


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