The Right Treatment For MS Depends On Disease Subtype!

Medical News Today

July 2nd ’08

Animal studies by University of Michigan scientists suggest that people who experience the same clinical signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) may have different forms of the disease that require different kinds of treatment. The results, if borne out in further studies, point to a time when doctors will be able to target specific inflammatory processes in the body and more effectively help MS patients, using available drugs and new ones in the pipeline.

Since the 1990s, the treatment picture has brightened for people with multiple sclerosis in its most common form, relapsing-remitting MS. Beta interferon drugs and glatiramer acetate (marketed as Copaxone) have proved effective at decreasing the attack rate and suppressing inflammatory plaque development in many patients with MS. Yet why the drugs help some patients, but not others, has remained a mystery.

The U-M research team conducted the studies in mice that have a disease similar to MS: experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis or EAE. The team found that different inflammatory chemicals, whose activity is linked to two different types of immune system T cells, could bring on the same paralysis and other MS-like signs. They also showed that drugs that block one of the inflammation pathways were not effective at blocking the other. The results, published online ahead of print, appeared in the July 7 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

“These two forms of disease differ in the specific anti-inflammatory agents that they are responsive to,” says Benjamin Segal, M.D., the study’s senior author and the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at the U-M Health System. “We already know that some people respond better to the drugs beta interferon or Copaxone than others. Now we’ve shown proof that you can cause MS-like syndrome in mice due to qualitatively different types of inflammatory damage. As a result, these two kinds of inflammation likely require different approaches to treatment,” says Segal. He directs the Holtom-Garrett Program in Neuroimmunology and is the Holtom-Garrett Family Professor of Neurology at the U-M Medical School.

It’s not yet known whether the same differences will prove true in people with MS. But the study suggests the need to develop drugs tailored to affect distinct inflammation pathways that might drive different forms of relapsing-remitting MS.

“We speculate at some point being able to identify and measure active inflammatory agents in patients, and to develop customized profiles that would help predict what treatments will be effective,” Segal says.

Research details and further implications can be found on the source’s webpage (medical news today – also found under ‘links’).

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Multiple-Sclerosis » Multiple Sclerosis Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and ...
  2. Trackback: Health News » The Right Treatment For MS Depends On Disease Subtype!

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