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A New Drug Candidate (GEMSP) for Multiple Sclerosis

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GEMSP is a mixture of functional polypeptides: fatty acids linked to poly-L-Lysine (PL), antioxidants linked to PL, free radical scavengers linked to PL, and amino acids linked to PL (patent numbers 6114388 (USA) and 792167 (EU)). In this review, we update the data on this new drug reported in the literature.

There is evidence suggesting that GEMSP is a good candidate for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system characterized by focal leukocyte inflammation, demyelization and axonal degeneration, resulting in nerve cell dysfunction. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is the main animal model used in the study of MS, a T cell-mediated autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. EAE has many clinical and histopathological similarities to MS. In this model, preclinical studies on GEMSP have demonstrated that the drug strongly inhibits brain leukocyte infiltration and completely abolishes EAE episodes and clinical scores, and it also appears that GEMSP preserves myelin integrity. In general, treatment with the free constituents of GEMSP (not linked to the inert carrier protein) is poorly active against brain leukocyte infiltration in EAE-immunized animals. This means that free molecules (not linked to PL) exert a very poor action on such infiltration and that these molecules are either rapidly incorporated into the metabolism or are degraded. Moreover, with immunocytochemical techniques, it has been demonstrated that one component of GEMSP, the methionine compound, is stored inside the motoneurons of the ventral horn of the spinal cord. However, this component of GEMSP has not been found in the brain.

The new candidate for MS therapy has shown no toxicity either in experimental animals or in humans. An open clinical trial in humans has demonstrated that GEMSP is completely safe. In addition, the approved drugs for the treatment of MS exert marked side effects, but no side effects have been reported following the administration of GEMSP. The results obtained at six months of treatment with low doses of GEMSP (0.75 mg/day) in that open clinical trial in humans were as follows: 55% of the patients maintained a stable expanded disability status scale (EDSS) value and 18% of the patients had a decreased EDSS value instead of a normal progression of 0.25 point on the mean EDSS scale.

We focus our review on the following topics: 1) EAE models and clinical evaluation; 2) the synthesis of GEMSP; 3) the effects of GEMSP dosage on EAE; 4) the effects of GEMSP on brain leukocyte infiltration; 5) GEMSP inside motoneurons; 6) the role of the components of GEMSP; and 7) GEMSP in MS patients, GEMSP toxicity, and side effects.

In conclusion, all the data reported indicate that GEMSP is a new potential drug candidate for the treatment of MS.
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Keywords: GEMSP; autoimmune disease; brain leukocyte infiltration; demyelization; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE); spinal cord motoneurons

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y Leon (INCYL), Laboratorio 14, c/ Pintor Fernando Gallego, 1, 37007-Salamanca, Spain.

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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