LONDON, April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Results of a study investigating an oral therapy for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) have shown that continuous use of the drug, known as FTY720 or fingolimod, led to two-thirds of participants remaining free of relapses over three years.

During the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Chicago on Wednesday, Italian researchers reported the results of the study of 173 people.

The results also showed that the inflammatory activity associated with MS, as assessed by MRI scans, remained low with 89 per cent of people with MS free of active brain lesions three years after starting the treatment.

Dr Laura Bell, research communications officer for the MS Society, said: "The results of this trial are encouraging because people with MS would benefit greatly from an effective oral therapy. It would take away the need for unpleasant injections and no therapies currently offer this. The MS Society is looking forward to more convenient treatments for people with MS."

Notes to Editors:

- The MS Society ( is the UK's largest charity dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by MS, providing respite care, an award-winning freephone helpline (0808-800-8000), specialist MS nurses and funds around 40 vital MS research projects in the UK.

- Multiple sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological disorder affecting young adults and an estimated 85,000 people in the UK have MS.

- MS is the result of damage to myelin - the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system - which interferes with messages between the brain and the body.

- For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern.

- Symptoms range from loss of sight and mobility, fatigue, depression and cognitive problems. There is no cure and few effective treatments.

For media enquiries please contact the MS Society Press Office on +44(0)20-8438-0840, or the out of hours duty press officer on +44(0)7909-851401