Tuesday, July 25, 2006

new drug combination offers hope for MS patients

22 July, (foodconsumer.org) - A new drug regimen may be ideal for multiple sclerosis patients since it prevents relapse in a particularly aggressive form of the disease, according to British researchers.
A study conducted over a period of five years found that patients with the aggressive form of multiple sclerosis had a reduced relapse rate of 90% under the regime. If this finding bears out in the long run, then MS patients could hope of being able to work, travel and raise families uninterrupted.
except when getting chemo-like treatments
Researchers at the Liverpool's Walton Centre for Neurology tested the new treatment in 27 patients with an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis. The patients were treated with the anti-cancer drug mitoxantrone plus Copaxone. The disease-moderating drug Copaxone is usually given in relapsing MS.
Mitoxantrone is a powerful anti-cancer drug and is very toxic. The drug can only be given in low doses. Hence researchers decided to combine it with the multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which is very slow acting....The findings were nothing short of dramatic. "Patients who were just the worst of the worst did remarkably well," Boggild said. "We think we've tapped into an unexpected synergy between the two drugs that gives you more than the sum of the parts." how gestalt It must be noted that all patients had a very bad form of MS.

One patient developed acute leukemia, which is a known side effect of mitoxantrone treatment. However a majority of the multiple sclerosis patients have not had any relapses. yeah, a majority of a very very small sample

"Though there are certain risks, associated particularly with the use of Mitoxantrone, we have been able to limit these by using this agent for just a short induction period," Boggild said. "Balanced against the high risk of early disability for these patients, the outcomes appear to justify this approach."

The treatment proved to be very beneficial to 28-year-old Karen Ayres who was diagnosed with MS in 2002. The travel agent feared that she might never walk again. However four years after starting the new treatment, she has regained the full use of her body. another article states that she was 28 (my age, really) at the time of this article
"When I was lying in my hospital bed, not even able to twitch my toes, I was jealous of anyone who could walk," she said. "I really do see it as a miracle cure. I have finished a master’s degree in psychology, backpacked across five continents, and returned to work. The treatment has given me my life back."

Many patients like her have had great results, but MS experts caution that it early days yet. A three-year controlled study is being launched at 10 centers across the United Kingdom to further asses the usefulness of the combination for multiple sclerosis patients.

Dr. John Richert, vice president of the research department of the United States' National Multiple Sclerosis Society said that single drugs are proving to be of no use in MS. "It really is likely that more and more combination therapies will be used. Even though there's not sufficient data to make any kind of formal recommendation, there is enough data to say that it is reasonable to make this option available.'' i dont know, pre-avonex i was having episodes every four months, and bad ones....
Dr. Robyn Wolintz, co-director of the MS Center at Maimonides Medical Center in New York felt the problem with the study was that it was small and had no control group. "They also gave different people different doses of mitoxantrone, and that's not standard."

Multiple sclerosis is a is a chronic, inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) that presents as changes in sensation, visual problems, muscle weakness, depression, difficulties with coordination and speech, and pain. The disease occurs as attacks in phases and is a debilitating one.

About one of every 1000 in the population suffers from multiple sclerosis in northern Europe, continental North America, and Australasia. The incidence is much lower in Asia and South America.

There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. Currently drugs can only control the symptoms and prevent relapse for a controlled period of time. However the current study offers hope since patients actually experience reversal of symptoms and were relapse-free for a considerable period of time. but again, for people like me, going through chemo treatments and risking leukemia are not worth it. they need to keep looking for better things

from Foodconsumer.org

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Anonymous said...

Considering the extreme possible side effects of this treatment (MS vs. Acute Leukemia?, what a choice) I would think that the patient would have to have fairly severe disabilities before even considering using this type of combination.

molly said...

my concern, mum, is how is it working? they state that it keeps you relapse free and i wonder about that. does it cause myelin regrowth? would the risk be worth it then, even if lower disability?

i want to see them figure out a cure, not stiffle the symptoms.

Anonymous said...

I agree, and it would seem that this is stiffling the symptoms. It says it works in relapse/remittance, not progressive. There is probably a clue there as to whether it is actually rebuilding myelin or just doing what the steroids do, only more efficiently.

Anonymous said...

reread the article. i believe it states that this treatment, copaxone (which is used for relapsing remitting) combined with mitoxantrone, is actually for agressive and progressive forms of ms.

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