MDA scientists began testing immunosuppressant drugs in Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) in the 1980s, when they helped link the disease to an autoimmune attack against the calcium channels in nerve endings.
They also began treating LEMS with the drug 3,4-DAP (which increases calcium channel activation) and continue to study calcium channels with an eye toward improved drugs. 3,4 DAP is currently in clinical trials for LEMS (the drug has previously only been available through compassionate use), and a new version of the drug is being tested under the name Firdapse.
MDA-funded researchers developed plasmapheresis specifically for treating MG and LEMS.
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