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Novel Treatments Discovered at the OHSU MS Center

Scientists at the OHSU MS Center have discovered three novel therapies in the laboratory which have gone into early clinical trials in patients.

Recombinant T Cell Ligand-1000 (RTL-1000)

Using advanced bioengineering techniques, Drs. Arthur Vandenbark, Gregory Burrows and Halina Offner invented a way to make proteins, called recombinant T cell ligands or RTL, that can bind to disease causing T cells (a specialized type of white blood cells), “stun” them and turn them into protective T cells. RTL therapy holds great promise for treating a number of autoimmune diseases, including MS.  RTL-1000 was designed to treat MS and is being developed by a local biotechnology company, Artielle. The first safety trials of RTL1000 in MS patients will be completed in early 2009.


Lipoic Acid

Lipoic acid is a natural anti-oxidant. Dr. Dennis Bourdette and his laboratory research team were the first to discover that lipoic acid is highly effective at treating a mouse model of MS. Drs. Vijayshree Yadav and Bourdette conducted the first trials of lipoic acid in MS patients and found that it was active when given orally. They are continuing to conduct research seeking to develop lipoic acid as an oral treatment for MS.

T Cell Receptor Peptide Therapy

Drs. Arthur Vandenbark and Halina Offner discovered that a peptide, called T cell receptor peptide or TCR peptide, could act as a vaccine and stimulate protective white blood cells in rats and mice with a MS like disease. Drs. Dennis Bourdette, Ruth Whitham, Vandenbark and Offner conducted early clinical trials of TCR peptide therapy in MS patients. While these early trials were very encouraging, the biotechnology company that holds the exclusive patent on this technology is presently not continuing clinical trials of this novel therapy.