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 drug used to treat diabetes may provide the treatment in a pill that many MS patients are hoping for. The drug is Pioglitazone, known to type two diabetes patients as Actos. Lab studies show the drug looks promising for MS patients as well.
"The relationship between type two diabetes and multiple sclerosis, there probably isn't any really strong correlation, and it's just a serendipitous discovery that we came across," says Douglas Feinstein, Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.
Researchers at the University of Illinois are about half-way through a two year test of Actos on MS patients. And so far, it appears the drug appears to reduce the number of symptom flare-ups and with no side effects.
Researchers around the world are also testing the same drug for the treatment of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.