23 April 1999

On April 1, investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles began a small-scale, preliminary clinical trial of the hormone estriol in 12 women with MS. The $430,000 trial was launched and funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

This preliminary study, led by Rhonda Voskuhl, MD, seeks to determine whether estriol, a predominant hormone of pregnancy, can control or inhibit MS attacks. The trial is based on observations that most women in later stages of pregnancy, when levels of estriol are high, experience fewer MS attacks. Estriol can also inhibit or prevent MS-like disease in laboratory mice.

The disease status of trial participants will be tracked with various tests, including magnetic resonance imaging (to test for disease activity) and blood tests (to trace immunological changes) for six months before treatment and six months during treatment.

This preliminary study is designed to provide safety and efficacy data needed to determine whether a larger-scale clinical trial of estriol to treat MS is warranted.

©1999 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society