MS breakthrough!

Breakthrough! Breakthrough! We MSers love to hear and read about breakthroughs!

This one’s a promising one and I hope it will soon be approved do that we all can reap the benefits from it.

You can read the story about Ocrelizumab here:

And remember – hope is last to die! Stay positive!;)



EBV-specific adoptive immunotherapy

it feels like most of the time news are centred around discoveries that seem to be focused on the RRMS types… I have just read this article and it seems to shed light also for SPMSers too! :)

Based on the patient’s Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) researchers have managed to ” harvest some of [the patient’s] own T cells and grow them in the lab together with an EBV vaccine. Then, the boosted cells are transferred back to the patient intravenously.”

Of course, as always, further tests are required but the results seem to be promising and the test patient claims to have experienced a change for the better. Read more about the treatment (EBV-specific adoptive immunotherapy) and the test patient’s experience here:


Personal diary – MS Spasms abruptly disturb a quiet night’s sleep

hi, it has been a while.. and this is an unusual post from me… but… Im scared.. :/

I had a very strange and painful incident this Sunday. My whole body was spasming/twitching in the middle of the night (at about 3am). It lasted a good 20-30mins:( After I took some paracetamol and drank a bit it went away. The strange thing is that it was just like the flu like symptoms I had after my first interferon/avonex injection (as expected, being a side effect), but I haven’t had it since then..and that was ages ago (2005!)

And so yesterday my whole body was aching and even before I went to bed I could feel it in my arms and legs. Not the spasming, but more like pain in the muscles/joints. And every time when I got up to pee last night I had such difficulties walking because my right foot went completely numb! :(

I stayed at home today, couldn’t go to work :( Luckily I have a Tysabri appointment later this afternoon so I will talk to a doctor, see what he/she can tell me.

So what does my mind start wondering about..? I am thinking of it nearby? Is it time? Just thoughts going through my mind..stupid thoughts. Will my boyfriend stay with me despite my potential disabilities? Although he really truly does love me, and I know that, can’t help but worrying on his behalf if he ends up with a challenged girlfriend…even though I know he knew from the beginning what MS could bring… silly huh? maybe you’ve had the same thoughts going through your head.. I just always think of the OTHER person, and how do OTHERS feel and how would this/that make THEM feel – it seems I always put others first rather than me, and my feelings and needs. I might need to work on that… but maybe it is just the way I am and I wont be able to do anything about it..

Just so you know, I have been on Tysabri since January 2009 (after Avonex failed on me following 4 years of weekly injections *chills*) and I have been very happy with it. I also have been confirmed, and re-confirmed that I (unfortunately) also carry the JC Virus.

Anyways, I am worried but I hope it is just a bad relapse… You are more than welcome to share your experiences with me, I’d be happy to hear from you!

Thanks! and stay positive;)

A future possibility to predict MS?

Wow… it has really been ages… I really do want to try to keep as updated as I can and follow on news but sometimes work and tiredness gets to you doesn’t it… ? it can be hard to manage :/

I guess it is the thought that counts, and the fact that after all I manage to squeeze in a few lines once in a while… So, today I read something interesting:). One day in the (hopefully near) future they might be able to test for MS long before disease onset.

To find out more about the research conducted on this molecular marker click here.

Enjoy your day!


A new, and unique, stem cell therapy for MS patients! :)

It is always great news to hear about the use of stem cells as therapies for MS. There seems to be great hope for the future with the use of these and we can only be positive about what is coming :)

I look very much forward to hearing the results of this research and hope we will all be able to benefit from it, soon :)


Enjoy the read:


Stay well!


another MS breakthrough!

This is great news today :)

As we know, most of the medicine out there nowadays are so-called immunosuppressors – they “knock down” our immune response without selection leaving us highly susceptible to viruses and other infections.

What this new discovery aims at doing is targeting only the autoimmune response to myelin. And how is this done? “…intravenously with an infusion of (the patients. red) own white blood cells, which had been engineered to carry billions of myelin antigens.”

Researchers are hoping that the cells would teach the body to stop attacking myelin. Hope is last to die and remember, it is ‘just’ a breakthrough not a cure.. but we’re getting there!! :)
Read the full article here:


Promising trials – for MS as well – w. ADULT stem cells use! :)

More good news ahead this sunny day.. :

Using adult stem cells (not embryonic) the researchers have shown both sensation and motor improvements in patients with spinal cord injuries.

Read the whole article here:


Warm regards,


Shrinkage of brain region may predict MS

This is an interesting discovery… how the thalamus could become a biomarker for MS because it’s detectable at a very early stage:



Your own skin may be a clue for repairing damaged MS myelin!!

I hope this proves to be true!!

Great news reported today on BBC, lets hope it is going to prove useful in future MS research:


Hope is last to die! :)

Key Biological Mechanism In MS possibly identified!

from the article, a very interesting discovery:

Fibrinogen, a blood protein that is involved in coagulation, is not found in the healthy brain. In vivo imaging over different stages of disease revealed, however, that a disruption in the blood-brain barrier allows blood proteins – and specifically fibrinogen – to seep into the brain. Microglia – immune cells that act as the brain’s first line of defense – initiate a rapid response to fibrinogen’s arrival. They release large amounts of chemically reactive molecules called ‘reactive oxygen species.’ This creates a toxic environment within the brain that damages nerve cells and eventually leads to the debilitating symptoms of MS. 


And another new MS breakthrough!

Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) were rejoiced by their new discovery which, as they claim, stands a good chance of helping people suffering from MS and a range of other neurological disorders.

The discovery centers around high levels of a particular enzyme not usually found in the brain, but only in those with brain damage due to MS, stroke and conditions.

It is believed if researchers can figure out how to block the enzyme, the brain can repair itself, where insulating shields around nerve cells have been damaged or destroyed (!!!).

“We have a chance now of understanding a whole new process that’s preventing repair of the brain.  And we have the possibility of finding a drug in the next several years that could repair the brain in MS patients and other patients where this nerve sheath is destroyed,” said Sherman (the Lead Researcher).

The next step is to find a drug or combination of medicines that block the enzyme.

Read the whole article here.

Myelin Repair a Possibility?

This article is just great news… it isn’t a cure for MS, but it still provides with hopefully further clues so as to how to control and stop this disease, especially the caused brain damage.

Enjoy the read here and have a nice weekend!


Univ. of Adelaide scientists have made MS progression breakthrough

Hi all!
I know it is a couple days old news but it is still great news even re-reading it today! so here it is:

UNIVERSITY of Adelaide scientists have revealed breakthrough research that has the potential to help prevent the progression of multiple sclerosis.

The researchers successfully halted the autoimmune disease in mice. This is the best news ever (for me:) 

MS was halted in mice – now all we have to do is test this on humans as well and hope for a major story changer!! :o) :o) :O)

Read more here:

Breakthrough in Adelaide 

and keep your heads up, there are lots of other news covering diverse research progresses it is amazing! 
HOPE IS LAST TO DIE!! :) :) :)


MS Disability linked to sodium buildup in brain

A recent article (Medical News Today) has suggested that a sodium buildup in the brain is related to disability in patients with MS.

The study found that for early-stage MS, specific brain regions were affected. However, for patients witha more advanced MS the accumulation was found throughout the whole brain.

Sodium buildup in motor areas of the brain correlated directly to the degree of disability seen in the advanced-stage patients“.

– a 3T sodium MRI scan can detect the sodium buildup in the brain:

Brain sodium MR imaging can help us to better understand the disease and to monitor the occurrence of neuronal injury in MS patients and possibly in patients with other brain disorders“.

MS damage reversed in mice model of MS!!

This is just great news!!!

Science Daily published an article about the research that the Mayo Clinic has been doing with regards to reversing the damage that MS causes to the nerves (both regenerating and repairing them!!) – and the results seem promising!! :) :) :)

we’re getting there…. :-)

Microchip for us needle “lovers”… !

I just saw this and I personally believe it is great news.. considering that I’m such a needle “lover”…!!

The possibility of using microchips in the future to administer drugs might be a sign of relief for many MSers, among other sufferers…

We are talking about an implantable, wirelessly controlled and programmable microchip-based drug delivery device! It provides a real-time dose schedule tracking and remote control for physicians to adjust treatment schedules as necessary as well as complete automation.

It has been successfully tested on eight Danish women for the treatment of their severe osteoporosis. But the company claims that it could be used for the treatment of other chronic diseases that require treatment w. injections. More trials might and will be needed, and they expect to submit it for approval in 2014. It is expected to be available on the market in 5 years from now.

To read more about this amazing technological advance click on any of the links below:



Stem cells & MS – Hope turns into reality..?

With all the talk about stem cell research in the field of MS I thought I’d write a little overview of what has happened so far…

The trial in stem cell transplant for MS happened in 1995. In 2003, the first positive trial with stem cell treatment was conducted on an MS patient in Sweden. The year after, in 2004, stem cell treatment was proclaimed to be just “very experimental”.

Only 3 years later, in 2007, did they realize that the use of stem cells could possibly play an important role for future MS treatments. And in 2009 a glimmer of hope was ignited. However, it remained still to early to be optimistic about stem cells and MS. There was a call for more controlled trials in 2010, to determine whether stem cells could be used as standard treatment for MS.

2011 was a turning point. Various researches claimed successful trials with stem cells on patients with MS.

This year (2012) a global research project is taking place, with the aim of analyzing and evaluating the possibilities of stem cell treatment for MS patients with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs are the primitive cells in the bone marrow.

What does the future hold for MS patients..? I believe hope might turn into reality – maybe stem cells are the answer we have all been waiting for.

If this year’s global research project proves to be successful, researchers say we might be looking at MSCs treatment becoming the standard treatment for MS in 2018.

I know that every research has its pros and cons. I also know that some reports have mentioned that patients who underwent stem cell treatment and were feeling “better than ever” unfortunately reverted back to their prior situation some months after the treatment.

I can just say we have to keep praying and hoping that they soon will find a cure no matter what it will be. Do not lose hope because some trials might not work out as you expect them to or because some people had relapses after all. Remember that we are all different and that it might work differently for you.


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

New MS therapies expected in 2012

Hi all,

I have just come across this interesting video where Dr. Ben Turner quickly highlights the key new MS therapies we can expect in 2012.

Among these you will hear a bit about Fingolimod (Gylenia), Teriflunomide (Aubagio), BG12 (Biogen’s nr. 12 drug) and Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada). He briefly introduces the drugs and gives a short explanation of the known benefits, supported by graphs.

To view the video click here:’s-around-the-corner-in-2012/

Never give up! =)

More genes than previously thought linked to MS!

A new discovery that came from a research aimed at finding out what role genes play in MS has now identified an additional 29 genes adding to a total of 57 genetic clues for MS.

However, it is still emphasized that genes play only a part in MS risk. Other factors, such as vitamin D levels and viral exposure are also believed to play a role. We know that the further somebody is from the equator, the higher his/her risk is (vitamin D from sunlight may be a factor).

The authors explained that T-cells and interleukins appear to play a major role in the development of MS. (…)

Co-author, Alastair Compston, from Cambridge University, said:

“We have implicated genes that are highly relevant to the actions of those drugs. It is now clear that multiple sclerosis is primarily an immunological disease. This is the way to nail this disease and get on top of it.”

(Source: Medical News Today August 10th 2011.)

Cost of Medicine vs. Quality of Life for MSers.

Yes please – reduce the cost of MS drugs!

in this article published July 21st by MEdical News Today (see link to the right) a study has been made whereby the cost of medication used to treat MS and the quality of life that ensues from the use of the medicine is measured.

(not surprisingly) it has been concluded that the cost of MS medicines is among the highest in the world (for medicine) – basically that “the health gains from these drugs come at a very high cost compared to basic therapy to control the symptoms of MS and compared to treatments for other chronic diseases.”

You can find the whole article under the previously mentioned link to the right. So what ya say we get the cost of MS medicines reduced and improve our quality of life!!

Cladribine – adios…

Unfortunately, today it was announced that Merck will no longer seek approval for the MS pill Cladribine due to the fact that regulators requested new clinical trials…

What does this mean? they won’t do the clinical trials required by the FDA & EMA as it will take them years before they finish these… but of course, we all know that this would imply a significant additional cost to the drug itself.

So what does this mean (besides the fact that we’re just money-making victims of a system selfishly and unfairly focused on the bottom line) ? Well, that we’re (unfortunately?) left with only one option for MS pill-treatment for the time being : Gilenya. And not only that, but apparently, this pill isn’t as efficient as ie. Tysabri, from what I heard from my doctors.

All those clinical trials gone to waste…? shame, we won’t have another pill option for the time being, but we can only hope that one day they decide to resume approval/trial and/or use their knowledge to develop an even better pill..;)


You can find the (more financial) report here on Bloomberg:

Stem Cells hope for (aggressive) MS…

Ok..I know I haven’t been here for ages…and that this article is a bit “outdated” in the sense that it came out in March but I still consider it of high importance which is why I bring it up here.

The article published on March 23rd 2011 (Medical News Today -see link to the right) talked about how stem cells may help people with aggressive forms of MS by “replacing deliberately destroyed bone marrow with the patient’s own stem cells”.

What is basically done in this treatment is that the patient’s own stem cells are take out, then “cleaned” through a course of chemotherapy and placed back into the patient. These “purified stem cells are thought to “reboot” the immune system”!!

The results seen were really great and now further tests need to be done.

To read more please click here:

stay cool!

Acrolein & MS

Purdue researchers have found evidence that an environmental pollutant may play an important role in causing MS and that a hypertension drug might be used to treat the disease. The research results represent the first concrete laboratory evidence for a link between acrolein and MS.

The compound is an environmental toxin found in air pollutants including tobacco smoke and auto exhaust. Acrolein also is produced within the body after nerve cells are damaged. Previous studies by the research team found that neuronal death caused by acrolein can be prevented by administering the drug hydralazine, an FDA-approved medication used to treat hypertension.

The new findings show that hydralazine also delays onset of MS in mice and reduces the severity of symptoms by neutralizing acrolein.

The researchers also learned the specific chemical signature of the drug that binds to acrolein and neutralizes it, potentially making it possible to create synthetic alternatives with reduced side effects. In MS, the myelin insulation surrounding nerve cells is destroyed and the nerve fibers themselves are damaged. Researchers of this study believe that acrolein is what degrades myelin and hope to be able to block that effect and thus delay the onset of MS and lessen the symptoms.

This is the first evidence that acrolein acts as a neurotoxin in MS and also the first time anyone has demonstrated hydralazine to be a neuroprotective drug. Other researchers had previously shown that acrolein damages liver cells and that the damage can be alleviated by hydralazine, leading the Purdue researchers to study its possible effects on spinal cord tissues.

< I’ve been absent for a while albeit following news… and made up my mind to post everything I had found interesting over the past months that I unfortunately didn’t have the time to post immediately…so please bear with me if some news aren’t “news” anymore… but I’ve simply decided to post them as I believe they are interesting to know… Therefore, for the full text visit Medical News Today (on the right) article dates back to November 24th 2010.. >

Sun, sunlight, sunshine, heat & MS….

How many times have we heard that “the sun is not good for MSers…”, “people with MS lack sufficient vitamin D” and so on…

Now what do you think/feel when you read one article titled:

Warm weather may hurt thinking skills in people with MS (Medical News Today February 18th.2011)

– and another one titled: How sunlight may reduce the severity of Multiple Sclerosis (same source, date: March 4th 2011).

You probably think “boy, let me be slower and stupid for the sake of reducing the severity of my MS”??? lol..hope not! but it does confuse the reader doesn’t it..? For me in particular, too much sun exposure doesn’t do any good, I’m feeling much slower, drowsy and what not on super-sunny super-hot I don’t see how the “severity” of my MS is possibly reduced by the sunlight…but maybe one should take just a biiiiiit of sun a day..or week…and not too much in order to reduce the severity of the disease..?

I think what I might just wanna add here is…. increase your vitamin D3 intake!! (foods, vitamins…maybe sun if it works for ya;)

keep shining!!:):)

(for the source go under “links” – Medical News Today)

‘MS’ Blocked in Mice – new hopes raised..?!?!

Just a quick note.

I hope this one will reach you in good spirit and raise it even higher;)

It is an article published in Medical News Today, on March 8th that talks about an MS-like disease’s harmful cells being blocked in mice from entering the brain:

A good start…now we need more great results…and a real MS;)


Quick update on Tysabri & PML!

and how we’re “only money making machines”….


ps. sorry for not being able to write more..I have a whoooole bunch of updates I want to write about but I’ve been super busy with my new job and don’t have time.. I will however do it asap!!

best to ya all and take care!!!

More stem cells hope for MS patients!!

Guys, I just came across this and it sounds very promising…and I truly hope that people are realizing more and more the importance of stem cell research: or:

Microglia – why we need embryonic stem cells research…

I am hereby posting a link to a very interesting article published on Medical News Today on October 25th 2010..

I believe it to be interesting as this particular research may pave a way for being able to prevent MS before we’re even born….

Hopefully you’ll find it as interesting as I have : )


Ocrelizumab – reduces MS disease activity

As taken from the Medical News Today (Oct. 20.2010) website:

Ocrelizumab is an investigational humanized monoclonal antibody designed to selectively target CD20-positive B-cells, which are believed to play a critical role in multiple sclerosis (MS). It then interacts with the body’s immune system to eliminate CD20-positive B-cells.

Simply put, Ocrelizumab has demonstrated, through trials (they refer to phase II in particular), that there is a significant reduction in disease activity in patients with MS…as measured by brain lesions and relapse rate.

In fact, the reductions were impressive: the total reductions in the number of brain lesions detected by MRI scanning was 96% for 2000mg Ocrelizumab and 89% for 600mg Ocrelizumab (compared to placebo). Disease activity was also reduced significantly…

For more info on Ocrelizumab please visit the Medical News Today link (you can find under “links”).

Disease activity was also measured by reduction in annualized relapse rate (ARR), the rate of attacks or flare-ups per patient-year. At week 24, ARR was significantly lowered versus placebo with a reduction of 73% for ocrelizumab 2000mg and 80% for ocrelizumab 600mgii.


Fingolimod approved!

…and so just a follow up on my previoud posts…

Fingolimod (Gilenya) has finally been approved by the FDA. Gilenya (fingolimod) is a 0.5 mg (capsule) daily oral treatment for relapsing MS.

Novartis, stated that Gilenya is the first oral medication indicated for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the United States – it reduces the frequency of MS flare-up, as well as helping slow down the build-up of some of the physical problems associated with MS.

Yeay! more oral drugs – we like! : )

Oral Laquinimod for MS!

I’d like to mention briefly Laquinimod here..

Laquinimod is an investigational, novel, once-daily oral immunomodulator. It was developed as a disease-modifying treatment for RRMS and is nearing end of trial phase. It is expected to be completed by Q3 next year!

Besides being tested for the treatment of RRMS, it is in development for Crohn’s disease and Lupus, and is being researched for other autoimmune diseases as well!

On September 21st, Medical News Today reported that, thus far, Laquinimod has demonstrated a sustained positive benefit-risk profile through the trials undertaken. Doctors are looking forward to confirming these in the final study phases next year.

We have one more oral drug for MS to look forward to!! : )

Umbilical cord blood cells transplant might help MS..?

This is an “old” article (08.July.2010) but I thought it would be a very interesting least it was for me… and I did not want to simply rewrite it risking a potential misunderstanding or confusion among readers..instead I suggest you just click on the link and enjoy the read ; )

Tysabri doctor check up…

So I had my doctor’s appointment the other day…among other things we discussed CCSVI of course.. as it is on my mind, ‘thankfully’ due to all the presence in the media..

Not surprisingly my doctor was apprehensive towards CCSVI in relation to MS.. In fact, even though she is interested and believes in encouraging further research in the field, she said something interesting.. at least interesting to me, as I haven’t heard/read it before. or maybe I have just that my brain has deliberately ingored it? whatever the case I thought it might be interesting to others as well so I’m writing it here.

Being a neurological disease, it does not come as a surprise that there might be a chance of having CCSVI (and “might be”.. ‘cuz not all MSers have it). What’s more… it is thus also present in other neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s. Now, this I don’t remember having read.. I have the impression that most media concentrated on CCSVI and MS..or is it just me?

She of course encouraged me to read thoroughly on the topic from only “reliable sources” such as the various MS organizations..before I decided what to do…but still, at this point, disencouraged further action..

Keep it cool; )

To CCSVI or not to CCSVI… that is the question.

We’ve all heard about CCSVI… and have our hopes high that these claims will be confirmed soon…while some are already undergoing necessary treatments others question the research and raise an alert tone…

Many still question what Zamboni claims… one can’t but wonder if his claims are indeed 100% correct or if the various critics should be paid attention to before undergoing this “risky” procedure…(and note the use of quotation marks..)

I’d really love to do it if it is proved through more trials that it indeed works.. until then I can only hope that those of you considering to undergo this procedure have had all the necessary information about it ; )

…so here is what Medical News Today reported on August 3rd:

CCSVI questioned

and another article on this too: more questions

Antihypertensive seems to help MS!

I have just started on a new job so I have been absent for some time but nonetheless I keep track of the important findings in the MS field and report these here.. ; )

On July 29th Medical News Today reported that an antihypertensive drug might be beneficial to patients with MS. This is great news as it is yet another discovery about a drug that already exists for the treatment of other conditions (in this case high blood pressure) but can benefit MS as well…

In fact, researchers found out that this antihypertensive drug could actually keep inflammation in MS under control…:

“The peptide angiotensin not only raises blood pressure but also activates the immunological messenger substance TGF beta on a previously unknown communication pathway in the brain.”

That is, the drugs that block the angiotensin receptors (AT1R blockers) are prescribed to millions of people to lower high blood pressure. The AT1R blockers have now also been found on various organs and cells that have nothing to do with regulating blood pressure, such as the T cells of our immune system. These are the immune cells involved in autoimmune reactions and chronic-inflammatory diseases (ie. MS).

Now… all they have to do is test these drugs on people with MS to confirm the findings… yay ; )

Living in a “cleaner society” might have caused your MS?

Medical News Today (July 20th 2010):

Scientists seem to have discovered a link between gut bacteria and MS.

They claim that microorganisms seem to play some role in the cause of MS, which remains still unknown. The researchers started from the following proposition and based on literature on bacteria & MS:

“As we live cleaner, we’re not just changing our exposure to infectious agents, but we’re changing our relationship with the entire microbial world, both around and inside us, and we may be altering the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory bacteria,” leading to diseases like MS, Mazmanian says.

As they gained an appreciation for how profoundly the gut microbiota can affect the immune system, they then decided to question if symbiotic bacteria are the missing variable in the mice with MS they were researching on. They claim that there is a clear connection between gut microbes and MS, and that dysbiosis (the dysregulation of normal gut bacterial populations) may be the explanation for the rising rate of MS seen in recent years in more hygienic societies. (!)

“Bacteria will kill you” huh? hmmm…maybe it was better for us MSers to be “dirtier”/unhygienic…? wonder what happens if we start now.. be unhygienic… find it difficult to believe as it is exactly what my nurse discouraged…”be as hygienic as possible sweetie, you don’t want something extra to get you”, she said. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see what they find out from further research.

Protein able to abolish recurring relapses in MS…

From Medical News Today (article dated: 07.07.2010)

Compugen Ltd. announced that (in an animal model of MS) a protein has shown to be able to completely abolish recurring relapses in MS.

In fact, CGEN-15001 has also demonstrated that its administration prior to disease onset delays disease onset and significantly decreases disease symptoms.

The results of this study and those of earlier studies, strongly support the significant potential therapeutic use of CGEN-15001 for the treatment of MS, as well as other autoimmune diseases.

Cancer drug & MS

An article published July 2nd, on the Medical News Today website reports on yet another cancer drug that shows promise for the treatment of a wide range of inflammatory diseases, among them MS:

Those looking for a new treatment for a range of inflammatory diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus may need to look no further than a drug already available for treating cancer.

In fact, Japanese scientists used mice to show that bortezomib, which is currently used to treat cancers that affect white blood cells, induces cell death only in harmful T cells (active and proliferating ones), thus leaving the rest unharmed. What is interesting about bortezomib, proven its efficiency on humans, is that it would not have the side effects that current drugs have (which affect all T cells equally).

CCSVI clinical trials to start!

It has been almost a year since CCSVI was first mentioned…and it has now been finally announced that clinical trials will start . On July 1st Medical News Today announced that:

Buffalo medical researchers led by a team from the University at Buffalo Department of Neurosurgery, will embark on a landmark prospective randomized double-blinded study to test the safety and efficacy of interventional endovascular therapy – dubbed “liberation treatment” – on the symptoms and progression of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

This is the news we’ve all been waiting to hear – hopefully clinical trials will determine if CCSVI intervention is helpful for the treatment of MS and open the possibility for people around the world to undergo this treatment.

Sativex – approved!

I mentioned in a post in March this year that Sativex was to be approved in Q2 2010 – and so it happened! : )

Medical News Today (22/06/2010) has reported that “the first symptom relief drug specifically for people withmultiple sclerosis (MS) has been licensed by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).

Sativex can be prescribed by MS specialists and it should be taken as part of a multi-disciplinary symptom management programme, which includes regular physiotherapy and assessments by occupational therapists.

As previously mentioned Sativex is an oral spray made from cannabis extract and serves to help alleviate MS symptoms of spasticity.

However, it is believed that the treatment is only effective in about 40% of people who take it. This, fortunately, becomes clear within a matter of weeks if it is not working.

Gilenia – another oral drug coming out…??

I just read that Novartis has received the FDA “go ahead” to introduce the first oral drug for MS and that it is expected to be approved as soon as September this year…?!?!?! : )

As I previously wrote here on the blog, oral drugs for MS are a really great thing for us MS sufferers and are on the “rise”… let’s face it.. everybody gets sick and tired of all the needles etc..

So yeah, this sounds like a great thing, and it seems that we will have many pills to choose from for treating our MS! ; )

See the links below for more info:

Pregnancy -> MS in remission..

Finally, a discovery about the relation of pregnancy and remission in MS…

Today’s article on Medical News Today (see under “Links”) describes how researches discovered a biological mechanism responsible for changes in the immune system which helps explain the remission that pregnant women with MS go through.

According to researchers, the expression of an enzyme known as pyruvate kinase is reduced in immune cells in pregnant women compared to non-pregnant women. The study is significant because the newly discovered mechanism points to a pathway that could be targeted for treatment. Indeed, researchers said that “it may be possible to design drugs that mildly suppress pyruvate kinase activity as a means of replicating the immune status of normal pregnancy”.

For more information on the research visit the Medical News Today link to the right ; )

A simple eye test to asses the damage caused by MS..

Article dated 08 Jun 2010 (Medical News Today – see link)

Researchers found that a quick, painless eye measurement shows promise as a way to diagnose MS in its very early stages, and to even track the effectiveness of treatments…:

Dr. Elliot Frohman said that “this technique has the potential to provide a powerful and reliable assessment strategy to measure structural changes in the central nervous system, both for diagnostic purposes and in clinical trials to monitor whether potential treatments can prevent deterioration or restore nerve function“.

The technique, called optical coherence tomography (OCT), reliably measures thinning of the retina in people with multiple sclerosis, the researchers found.

“An ophthalmologist might someday be able to use OCT to identify retinal thinning during a routine eye exam and consider MS as a prime diagnosis,” Dr. Frohman said.

The research highlights how retinal thinning can occur as a result of MS. The researchers found that the retinas thinned significantly with time, and patients often concurrently lost visual sharpness. Overall, the study indicated that OCT is reliable, easy to use and sensitive to changes over time.

For some more details on this article follow the above mentioned link to the right.. ; )

Hope for the future of MS stem cell research

“Bone Marrow Stem Cells Show Exciting Potential For Multiple Sclerosis Treatment” is the title of the article published on May 6th on the Medical News Today website (see link to the right under “Links”).

The article mentions that a groundbreaking trial, which aimed at testing bone marrow stem cell therapy with a small group of people with MS, shows how it has possible benefits for the treatment of MS. The purpose of the trial was to discover what kind of effects, be it good or bad, bone marrow stem cells has on MS patients, and their disability. In several experimental studies done previously, this stem cell therapy has been shown to have beneficial effects in disease models of MS.


“Research into the underlying mechanisms is ongoing and vital, in order to build on these results. We believe that stem cells mobilised from the marrow to the blood are responsible, and that they help improve disease in several ways, including neuroprotection and immune modulation.”

The next day (May 7th 2010) an article mentions that guidelines regarding stem cells and MS have been made.

Researchers have agreed that stem cells are likely to have a significant role to play in the treatment of MS, but also warn that expectations should be realistic. Professor Gianvito Martino said: “At this stage it is unreasonable to claim that stem cells are a magic cure for MS. It is, however, likely that they will one day play an important role in treating the condition.”

Which is why the booklet with guidelines was created and I think it is a great source of information regarding stem cells and how it works for MS in particular ; ). It is a public information booklet created in partnership by MS Societies from the UK, USA, Italy, France and Australia and the MSIF summarises the guidelines for people affected by MS: “Stem Cell Therapies in MS”.

I think this is a great research is a great step forward : o )

PML (Tysabri) update – May/17/2010!!!!

From the website (news updated today – May 17th 2010)

As of May 6th 2010, information released by Biogen Idec reports a total of 49 confirmed cases of PML (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy) among people on Tysabri® (natalizumab) since July 2006, when it became available for prescription.

The risk of developing PML stays the same, that is, it increases with the number of Tysabri infusions received. However, the clinical benefits of Tysabri still continue to outweigh the potential risks.

As of the end of March 2010, 67,700 people worldwide have used Tysabri since it was marketed. Although the absolute risk for PML in patients treated with Tysabri cannot be precisely determined, the U.S. FDA and the sponsor have released data suggesting that the risk increases with increasing time on therapy, starting out lower than the one-in-one thousand level that was estimated at the time of Tysabri’s re-approval in 2006, and rising after two years of infusions to about one in one thousand. (….) There is insufficient information to determine the risk of PML in those who have been on therapy for three years or more.

The following paragraphs below are directly quoted from the website mentioned above as I thought they are easy to understand and rather important and wouldn’t want to leave something out by mistake.

Signs of PML: Typical symptoms associated with PML progress quickly over days to weeks, and can include:
• personality or behavioral changes
• changes in thinking, memory, and orientation leading to confusion
• onset of seizures, clumsiness or progressive weakness on one side of the body
• disturbances of vision

If individuals taking Tysabri experience new, unusual symptoms, they should contact their prescribing physician immediately. Physicians who need guidelines on the protocol to follow when they have a patient on Tysabri who experiences unusual symptoms should contact Biogen Idec.

Additional Details: According to the company, as of May 6, 2010 there have been 49 confirmed cases of PML, occurring in both men and women who had been given infusions of Tysabri every four weeks for a duration ranging from one year to three and a half years, with an average of two years.

• 27 of the cases occurred in Europe, 19 in the United States, and 3 in the rest of the world.

• Approximately one-fourth of those who have developed PML have died.

• The degree of disability in the survivors is a wide spectrum: at the milder end, some have recovered enough to return to work, and at the other extreme, some are confined to bed, requiring extensive assistance with activities of daily living, and others were in between this range.

• Based on these cases, the sponsor stressed that, contrary to prior information, the presence of gadolinium-enhancing lesions on MRI does not exclude the possibility of PML. Likewise, the absence of JC virus DNA in the spinal fluid does not exclude PML.

• There has been no characteristic among those who have developed PML that would give substantial clues to who might be more likely to develop it, except that half of the cases had prior histories of having been on immunosuppresive therapies, such as mitoxantrone, and less commonly, azathioprine and methotrexate.

• Right now there is no test that can predict who is more likely at risk for developing PML while using Tysabri; in a large company-sponsored study, testing of blood cells, plasma, serum and urine for the causative JC virus in people before and after 48 weeks of Tysabri therapy (Rudick et al, ECTRIMS 2009) did not show any differences in the presence of the virus in those fluids. The results of these studies, performed at the U.S. National Instituties of Health, differ somewhat from an earlier study (N. Engl. J. Med. 361:1067, 2009) suggesting higher virus levels after treatment.

• When PML was suspected, Tysabri infusions were halted. There is no specific therapy to treat PML, but the best hope is to reconstitute a person’s immune responses. In most of the cases, once PML was confirmed, Tysabri was removed from their systems with the blood-cleansing treatments of either plasma exchange or immunoadsorption.

• During the aftermath of PML, as the immune system begins to recover, a condition called IRIS (immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome) usually occurs about 4 weeks after the removal of Tysabri from the system. The sponsors suggested that some of the treating physicians found that prompt use of intravenous steroids to treat this brain inflammation led to improvement.

“Important control mechanism behind autoimmune diseases discovered”

I am sorry but I have been busy and thus late in my updates. Nevertheless I aim at posting everything I’ve read that I deemed relevant and interesting. The following is from an article (dated 05 May 2010 – Medical News Today).

Swedish researchers have discovered a new control mechanism in our immune system. This discovery might have be of great significance for the treatment of serious diseases such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus).

Mikael Karlsson, associate professor at the Department of Medicine at Karolinska Institutet in Solna states: “now that we’ve started to understand the regulatory mechanisms involved in these autoimmune diseases, we are hopeful that new treatments can be found“.

An important component of our immune defense is a type of cell called a B cell. Normally, the job of these cells is to produce antibodies, which in turn bind to and neutralise invasive microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. In people with an autoimmune disease, explains Dr Karlsson, these B cells actually have an injurious effect and instead of serving the body, are activated against its own tissues, which they start to break down.

What this research has demonstrated is that NKT cells can regulate how B cells become activated against healthy tissue, and also that a lack of NKT cells results in greater misguided B cell activation… Thus researchers claim they can now actually mechanically link the NKT cell defect in patients to the disease.

The study also shows that the NKT cells directly impede faulty B cell activation, and that they do so early in the misdirected process. The team managed to inhibit the activity of pathogenic B cells by adding NKT cells – a result that may one day lead to new types of treatment.

This simply opens the opportunity for the development of new treatments for MS (and the other diseases mentioned above) specifically targeted at the protective NKT cells.

Detecting MS in the blood… leading to a cure..!?!?!

I haven’t have the time to update the blog recently..sorry for that but I will make sure to update all things I’ve so far read and found relevant. Here is one of them. I’ll bring up the main things stated in the article (for more info check the link to the right)

(From Medical News Today – article dated 03 May 2010)

A breakthrough finding from a Tel Aviv University scientist and physician promises to lead to earlier diagnosis, more effective intervention, and perhaps even a cure MS!

This finding might provide clues for early intervention. If doctors can predict the onset of MS early enough, intervention therapies using immunomodulatory drugs such as Copaxone or beta-interferon drugs that stave off MS symptoms, might be used.


These early genetic markers may now be used to test for multiple sclerosis up to nine years before healthy young adults start developing symptoms. And because MS is thought to have a genetic component and a tendency to be found in siblings, Prof. Achiron says the biomarkers can be used as a tool for brothers and sisters of patients.

When Prof. Achiron was aksed why test in advance of a cure he replied: “the idea is that we’ll know more about the genetics of MS through this new discovery, with the hope that early intervention therapies may be more effective, and help advance medicine toward a cure” .

This new insight into who will develop MS in the future is a first on the path of finding a cure to the disease.

Link between MS brain atrophy, cognitive function & low vitamin D levels

It has long been known that lower-than-normal vitamin D levels were associated with a greater risk of developing MS…but little is known about its relationship to cognitive impairment. The study mentioned on May 3rd 2010, in Medical News Today, links low vitamin D levels to not only a more advanced physical disability but also cognitive impairment in people with MS.

In sum, the results of the study showed, among other things…:

  • Clinical evaluation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images show low blood levels of total vitamin D and certain active vitamin D byproducts are associated with increased disability, brain atrophy and brain lesion load in MS patients.
  • A potential association exists between cognitive impairment in MS patients and low vitamin D levels.

… And also that only 7% of people with secondary progressive MS showed sufficient vitamin D (compared to 18.3% of patients with the less severe relapsing-remitting type).

“Results showed that MS patients who were impaired on tests of executive function — critical reasoning and abstract thinking — and the ability to plan and organize, were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D”… “This relationship held true when controlling for the season during which vitamin D was measured, as well as depression, which is known to be associated with lower vitamin D levels.” Morrow noted there also was a suggestion that verbal fluency (word generation) and visual-spatial memory (learning and memory of shapes and figures) is more likely to be affected when vitamin D levels are not sufficient.

(see under “links” to the right for more details on the study)

Alemtuzumab & MS

A few days ago (April 15th 2010), Medical News Today reported on the use of Alemtuzumab for the treatment of MS. The research in question reported that a significant percentage of MS patients who received Alemtuzumab remained free of clinically-active disease.

More precisely, 71% of the patients treated with alemtuzumab remain free of clinically-active disease as much as three years after most patients received their last course of the investigational compound. The data were presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting.

This trial was compared Alemtuzumab to Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) in patients with early, active, and relapsing-remitting MS, who had received no prior therapy. For the details of the trial and more on the results visit the Medical News Today website link to the right ; )

What I think is important to highlight from this trial is that researchers believe Alemtuzumab to target the immune system cells responsible for the cellular damage (found in multiple sclerosis), while sparing other immune system elements.

Groundbreaking MS research to be announced April 10-17th

From the Medical News Today website (article dated April 14th 2010, see under Links to the right)

At the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual meeting, among other things, a potential new drug for the treatment of MS, and surprising trends showing a reduction in the disease’s severity…

Teriflunomide, is an investigational oral medication for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)… The study analyzed teriflunomide added to ongoing treatment with glatiramer acetate, a currently prescribed medication, and determined that teriflunomide was safe and effective as part of combination therapy.

And most important of all:

MRI studies revealed that teriflunomide also proved to be effective at reducing the size and volume of lesions on the brain.

“While our study was designed to evaluate the safety of teriflunomide, we determined that in addition to being safe it was also effective in reducing the size and number of lesions in people with RRMS,” said Aaron Miller, MD, Professor of Neurology, and Medical Director of the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

“Further data are required to evaluate efficacy of this combination therapy, but the results are promising.”

One can just comment…that it really sounds like the data is promising! if this drug manages to REDUCE the size AND volume of lesions on the brain…wow!

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