This patent covers the use of prolactin alone or in combinations with other agents for enhancing formation of oligodendrocytes in vivo. It is assigned to the company Stem Cell Therapeutics, out of Calgary Canada, who is currently using hCG and EPO for treatment of strokes in Phase II clinical trials. Other patents owned by Stem Cell Therapeutics include #7,048,934 which covers prolactin and EPO for stimulation of neurogenesis, and #7,393,830 which covers use of prolactin to augment number of neural stem cells in a mammal.
The first independent claim is: "A method for enhancing the formation of oligodendrocytes endogenously in a mammal, comprising: selecting a mammal with or suspected of having a disease or condition associated with demyelination; and enhancing the formation of oligodendrocytes by administering an effective amount of a prolactin to said mammal"
Prolactin has previously been published to have white-matter protecting activity in animal models. Another interesting effect of prolactin is its ability to inhibit immunological diabetes in the non-obese mouse model (Atwater et al. Pregnancy hormones prevent diabetes and reduce lymphocytic infiltration of islets in the NOD mouse. Ann Clin Lab Sci. 2002 Winter;32(1):87-92).
The patent further covers combinations of prolactin with agents such as IGF-1, EGF, PACAP, LIF, PDGF, estrogen, TGF, FGF, and hCG.