SYDNEY, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- A new drug developed by Australian researchers to treat motor neurone disease (MND) is showing promising results at trial stage with patients displaying improvements in lung function and cognition.
The copper-delivery drug, known as CuATSM, was shown to improve clinical and cognitive symptoms of 32 MND patients over six months, as well as slowing the overall progression of the disease.
MND is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease typified by the loss of brain cells that control muscle movements, with most patients dying from respiratory failure within three years of diagnosis.
Currently there are no treatments or disease modifying therapies available.
"This is the first human evidence for a disease-modifying drug for motor neurone disease," chief scientific officer of collaborative medicinal development and director of the Melbourne Dementia Research Centre, Professor Ashley Bush said.
"It is a huge breakthrough, and we look forward to confirming the positive results in a larger study soon."
The breakthrough comes after a 15 year collaboration between scientists at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.