Cancer treatment that is currently administered to patients with leukaemia has been found to help multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, a study has found.
A trial of the drug cladribine, carried out by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London, reduced yearly relapse rates in MS sufferers by 58 per cent.
Cases of debilitating symptoms were also down by 30 per cent and lesion activity was found to be less.
Head of research at the MS Society, Dr Lee Dunster, commented: "This week's announcements herald a step change in treatment options for people with the most prevalent form of MS at the time of diagnosis.
"News of the development of two oral therapies for MS marks a new dawn and this could be a huge step forward for people who currently have to inject their treatments."
He added that the new treatment could be on the market by the end of 2010 and will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of MS sufferers.
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition affecting the myelin sheath of the central nervous system that affects 85,000 people in the UK.