Skip to comments.Vaccine could stop MS in its tracks
Posted on 03/10/2006 5:42:57 PM PST by Coleus
THE immune cells that attack the brains and nerves of people with multiple sclerosis could be turned into a weapon against the disease.
This month sees the beginning of a trial of a personalised vaccine for MS, designed to rein in and destroy the renegade white blood cells that attack myelin cells lining the brain and nerves of patients.
To make the vaccine, PharmaFrontiers of Woodlands, Texas, takes blood from an MS patient and extracts a sample of these renegade cells. The cells are then multiplied and weakened with radiation before being re-injected into the patient, whose immune system will then recognise them as damaged and attack them, sometimes wiping them out completely, according to the results of earlier trials. The immune system will also attack healthy renegade cells, which have the same markers on their surface. In one trial of 15 people with MS the rate of new flare-ups was reduced by 92 per cent.
If this success is repeated in the new trial it might mean that regular shots could slow or even arrest progression of the disease. "If that's the case, the earlier we can do it after diagnosis the better," says David McWilliams of PharmaFrontiers. In the current trial, 100 patients will receive the treatment and 50 a dummy treatment. The vaccine would only need to be injected four times a year, while other MS drugs need to be given on a weekly or daily basis.
However, since all previous attempts to develop a vaccine for MS have failed, Richard Rudick of the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research in Cleveland, Ohio, is cautious about its prospects. "None have worked so far. This one may, but we don't yet know."
In the meantime, good news may await MS patients in the US. This week the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to lift its ban on prescribing Tysabri following new evidence on its safety and effectiveness. Tysabri, which is twice as effective at quelling symptoms as any other MS drug available, was pulled a year ago after three people taking it died from rare brain infections.
The superiority of Tysabri over existing, beta-interferon treatments was shown by three separate studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine last week (vol 354, p 899, p 911 and p 924). "With interferons, we've normally seen roughly a one-third reduction in the relapse rate," says Rudick, who led one of the studies. "With Tysabri, we saw more than a two-thirds reduction."
The headline led me to think the story was about computers. I need to spend less time on this stupid thing.
Good news MS ping.
Those eeeeevvvil drug companies are doint it again! I'll bet that they even want to be PAID!
This is good news.
Lets hope it works.
Hell I want to be paid! I backed in the pickup and filled it up with ELN when it was between $5 & $6. Holding out for $18 at least.
Ping for Peggy ...
Gee, I thought that all vaccines are bad, and that Big Pharma is out to give our kids autism and push vaccines through the FDA Fast Track process so that they can make tons of money before finding out the vaccine causes harm...
Before anyone flames me, yes, I realize that this is a vaccine for adults (as kids don't get MS). However, on the subject of vaccines, many conservatives are getting to sound like liberals: the evil drug company doesn't care about the patients, all they care about is money, it's a conspiracy, etc. etc. etc.
That's awesome news!
This is actually quite promising (for once) - if the FDA and the trial lawyers don't screw it up.
Excerpt: A revolutionary approach developed in Israel which uses the body's own cells as a vaccine for treating autoimmune diseases is showing tremendous potential in human trials.
The most recent trials are taking place at Sheba Hospital and Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, where multiple sclerosis patients are being vaccinated in hope that it will slow down the deteriorative effects of their disease. The results of the double-blind studies are expected to be released in coming months.
The trials are based on scientific research dating back 25 years to the laboratory of Prof. Irun Cohen of the Weizmann Institute. In 1981, Cohen and one of his students, Avraham Bin-Nun, first published their observation that the cells that trigger autoimmune diseases - called T-cells - can be adapted to vaccinate the body against their destructive action. T-cells are a subset of lymphocytes that play a large role in the immune response. The abbreviation "T" stands for thymus, the organ in which their final stage of development occurs.
The pharmaceutical companies are incentivized to succeed at finding cures. When they find a cure they get profits and resulting stock price increases. The successful individual researchers get money and incredible prestige.
There is so much research going on now. The research is in many areas, governmental research, pharmaceutical company research, MS Society sponsored research and independent researchers. The myelin rebuilding studies are especially hopeful.
This "vaccine" is just one of many potential bright spots. We are going to win, it is just a matter of time.