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A. Using Statins to Treat Autoimmune Diseases

Narrator: This is Science Today. New studies have found that the inflammation reducing effects of a family of drugs called statins could lead to a revolution in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Dr. Scott Zamvil, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, says statins are commonly used to treat high cholesterol.

Zamvil: There are 13 million Americans on statin drugs at this time. It's estimated that many more fold should actually be on these for hypercholesterolemia and these drugs are in general very well tolerated with risk reduction to stroke and to heart attack.

Narrator: Zamvil recently completed a successful trial using statins to reduce paralysis in mice infected with a disease similar to Multiple Sclerosis.

Zamvil: It's only the beginning of our understanding of whether they may have some benefit in autoimmune diseases, such as MS or insulin dependent diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.