A pilot trial of Cop 1 in exacerbating-remitting multiple sclerosis

N Engl J Med. 1987 Aug 13;317(7):408-14. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198708133170703.


Cop 1 is a random polymer (molecular weight, 14,000 to 23,000) simulating myelin basic protein. It is synthesized by polymerizing L-alanine, L-glutamic acid, L-lysine, and L-tyrosine. It suppresses but does not induce experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, an animal model of multiple sclerosis. It is not toxic in animals. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot trial, we studied 50 patients with the exacerbating-remitting form of multiple sclerosis, who self-injected either 20 mg of Cop 1 dissolved in 1 ml of saline or saline alone daily for two years. Six of 23 patients in the placebo group (26 percent) and 14 of 25 patients in the Cop 1 group (56 percent) had no exacerbations (P = 0.045). There were 62 exacerbations in the placebo group and 16 in the Cop 1 group, yielding two-year averages of 2.7 and 0.6 per patient, respectively. Among patients who were less disabled on entry (Kurtzke disability score, 0 to 2), there were 2.7 exacerbations in the placebo group and 0.3 in the Cop 1 group over two years. Among patients who were more affected (Kurtzke disability score, 3 to 6), there was an average of 2.7 exacerbations in the placebo group and 1.0 in the Cop 1 group. Over two years, less disabled patients taking Cop 1 improved an average of 0.5 Kurtzke units; those taking placebo worsened an average of 1.2 Kurtzke units. More disabled patients worsened by 0.3 (Cop 1 group) and 0.4 (placebo group) unit. Irritation at injection sites and rare, transient vasomotor responses were observed as side effects. These results suggest that Cop 1 may be beneficial in patients with the exacerbating-remitting form of multiple sclerosis, but we emphasize that the study is a preliminary one and our data require confirmation by a more extensive clinical trial.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Peptides / administration & dosage
  • Peptides / adverse effects
  • Peptides / therapeutic use*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Random Allocation


  • Peptides
  • (T,G)-A-L