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Soy-Based Inhibitor Holds Promise as MS Treatment

Natural substance reduced nervous system inflammation in animal study

FRIDAY, Dec. 15, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A natural soy-based substance called Bowmann-Birk Inhibitor Concentrate (BBIC) improved the condition of animals with a disease similar to multiple sclerosis, a U.S. study says.

One group of animals with the MS-like disease called autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) received BBIC, while another group of animals with the same disease received an inert substance.

"Animals that received BBIC were able to walk, while those that didn't get the drug were not," study leader Dr. A.M. Rostami, professor and chair of the department of neurology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, said in a prepared statement.

The animals that received BBIC weren't cured of their illness and did walk with some limp or weakness. However, the results are promising, the researchers said.

They also found that the central nervous systems of the animals that received BBIC had "significantly less inflammation and demyelination" than animals that didn't receive BBIC.

"It's the first time that BBIC has been used in an EAE model and has shown significant disease suppression, and we hope it can eventually be used in humans," Rostami said.

BBIC inhibits proteases, which are enzymes that play a major role in the inflammation and demyelination associated with multiple sclerosis, in which the myelin coating of nerve fibers become inflamed and scarred.

The study was published Dec. 12 in the journal Multiple Sclerosis.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about multiple sclerosis.

SOURCE: Jefferson Medical College, news release, Dec. 12, 2006
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