Scientists in New York claim to have managed to inhibit the progress of multiple sclerosis (MS) during animal trials.
According to the researchers at the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center, a calpain inhibitor has been developed which is taken orally and prevents the destruction of the myelin sheath, which coats and protects nerves in the body (demyelination).
Clinical symptoms of illness were reduced in a mouse model of MS according to the dose and timing of the drug, found the study, which is published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology.
The scientists are therefore hoping that the inhibitor could be utilised to treat both mild and moderate phases of the disease.
Multiple sclerosis is the most common of all disabling neurological conditions. It tends to affect young adults, slowly preventing normal communication from the brain, via the nerves around the body.
About 85,000 people in the UK are affected by the condition.