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Irish 'marvel molecule' treatment will help people with Alzheimer's, arthritis and MS

Scientists have discovered a common process across inflammatory conditions.

Image: Shutterstock/Claire Quigley

SCIENTISTS FROM TRINITY College Dublin have discovered a ‘marvel molecule’ that is set to help combat a number of inflammatory diseases.

The molecule works by targeting a specific activator in inflammatory diseases known as an ‘inflammasome’.

The scientists have found that this is a common theme across a variety of inflammatory diseases – meaning that the new molecule will be effective in a wide range of treatments.

Treatable conditions 

The molecule – known as MCC950 – has been found to be effective in treating conditions as varied as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Muckle Wells syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

All of these inflammatory diseases were shown to share a common process – even though they affect different parts of the body.

The new treatment will address areas where other treatments are considered to be either highly ineffective or to have major limitations.

Tests so far have shown the molecule to show “great promise” in its ability to block multiple sclerosis.


The treatment would be administered to patients orally and cheaper to produce than current protein-based treatments.

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It would also have a shorter duration in the body meaning the anti-inflammatory action of the drug could be stopped faster if a patient needed to return their immune response to 100% to clear an infection.

Speaking about the new treatment, joint senior scientist behind the discovery and Professor of Biochemistry at Trinity, Luke O’Neill, said, “drugs like aspirin or steroids can work in several diseases, but can have side effects or be ineffective.”

What we have found is a potentially transformative medicine, which targets what appears to be the common disease-causing process in a myriad of inflammatory diseases.

The study was a collaboration between six institutions including Trinity, the University of Queensland in Australia, the Universities of Michigan and Massachusetts in the United States and the University of Bonn in Germany.

The full findings are set to be published in the preclinical medical journal ‘Nature Medicine’. 

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