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Frankincense extract may reduce disease activity in relapsing-remitting MS

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New therapeutic option for relapsing-remitting MS?

Results of the SABA phase 2a trial suggest that frankincense could be a new therapeutic agent for mildly disabled young patients with RRMS who require long-term treatment, according to Dr. Francesco Patti.

In the study, administration of standardized oral frankincense extract significantly reduced the median number and volume of contrast-enhancing lesions and the number of new T2 lesions. The treatment also increased brain parenchymal volume and reduced the annualized relapse rate. While disability scores remained unchanged, measures of function and quality of life improved.

The treatment effects also appeared to be durable, based on the extension phase results.

Blood and immunologic findings suggested that the treatment was not toxic and that it exerted immunomodulatory activity by reduction of IL-17–producing CD8-positive T cells, as well as anti-inflammatory properties through inhibitory effects on 5-lipo-oxygenase, microsomial prostaglandin E2 synthase-1, LL-37, and nuclear factor-kB activities.

“This mechanism of action, attributing a role of these enzymes in neuroinflammation, might offer a new therapeutic approach,” he concluded in his editorial.

Francesco Patti, MD , is with the Multiple Sclerosis Hub Center, University of Catania (Italy). These comments are derived from his editorial ( J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2018;89:327 ). Dr. Patti declared no competing interests related to the editorial.


FROM Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry

“The right balance between efficacy and safety profile becomes increasingly more important for a young patient population, who require long-term treatment,” Dr. Stürner and her coauthors wrote. “The results of the SABA trial are promising from this perspective.”

The study was funded in part by Alpinia Laudanum Institute, which supplied the standardized frankincense extract at no charge. Individual authors reported competing interests with Alpinia Laudanum, Biogen, Sanofi Genzyme, Novartis, Merck Serono, and others.

SOURCE: Stürner KH et al. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2018 Apr;89(4):330-8.

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