From the Desk of the President

MS and Breast Cancer – TTUHSC El Paso researchers have set out to investigate the association between multiple sclerosis (MS) and breast cancer. They recently published their study, “Multiple Sclerosis and Breast Cancer” in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences. Using a Texas statewide hospital database, the Public Use Data File, Patrick O’Malley, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine student, as well as Zuber Mulla, Ph.D., associate professor of OB/GYN and director of Epidemiologic Research, and Olivera Nesic-Taylor, associate professor in the Department of Medical Education, conducted a case-control study using a hospital inpatient discharge data set of more than 21,000 cases.

Their research suggests that MS and/or treatments for MS have a protective effect on breast cancer. The article is available at


MSA Research – Congratulations to Ruth G. Perez, Ph.D., associate professor of Biomedical Sciences in our Center of Emphasis in Neurosciences. The Multiple System Atrophy Coalition has awarded her a grant to repurpose a FDA-approved multiple sclerosis (MS) drug for multiple system atrophy (MSA). The rapidly progressing brain disease has no treatment or cure. With this grant, Dr. Perez and Jeffery Arterburn, Ph.D., New Mexico State University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry regent’s professor and associate department head, will test the FDA-approved MS drug and two new compounds based on the FDA-approved drug in animal and cellular models of MSA. The goal is to assess the drugs’ ability to protect both the signaling neurons and the supporting myelinating cells. If data from this preclinical assessment are supportive, the FDA-approved drug can be rapidly repurposed for MSA, providing the first therapy that may slow disease progression and improve the quality of life.