Skip to comments.The blend of drugs that can 'stop MS in its tracks'
Posted on 07/22/2006 5:22:19 PM PDT by annie laurie
Multiple Sclerosis sufferers were offered the hope of a normal life today after doctors discovered a pioneering drug treatment.
A five-year study, which is due to be published in next month's Journal of Neurology, found that patients with the aggressive form of MS had a reduced relapse rate of 90 per cent under the regime.
Background Click here for our short guide to MS
A treatment offering fresh hope for sufferers of multiple sclerosis has been discovered by British scientists.
They are pioneering a regime which uses a combination of drugs to halt the ravages of the devastating neurological disease.
A small-scale study has found that the treatment reduced attacks among patients with severe forms of MS by up to 90 per cent.
One woman claims to have regained the full use of her body after fearing she would never walk again.
Scientists hope the treatment could offer the chance of a normal life to all 85,000 MS sufferers in Britain.
MS, a degenerative disorder of the nervous system, causes symptoms including muscle weakness and reduced vision, which can degenerate over time. Some patients eventually become totally paralysed and wheelchair-bound.
The treatment regime is being pioneered by doctors at Liverpool's Walton Centre for Neurology, the UK's only neuroscience NHS trust.
It involves a limited course of the chemotherapy drug Mitoxantrone, which is normally used to treat cancer, followed by the MS antiattack drug Copaxone.
The results, due to be published in the August edition of the Journal of Neurology, were so successful that a full study is being initiated at ten centres, for which volunteers are being sought.
Dr Mike Boggild, the consultant neurologist who led the research, said the two drugs appeared to have a powerful combined effect.
He said: "This regime has proved remarkably effective in patients with early MS and a poor prognosis.
"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.
"Balanced against the high risk of early disability for these patients, the outcomes appear to justify this approach."
There is no cure for MS but drugs can reduce the number of attacks and relapses.
Mitoxantrone appears to work in MS sufferers by suppressing the immune system and giving the nervous system a chance to recover from recent attacks.
Copaxone also suppresses the body's immune response and helps to protect the nerve cells from further damage.
Dr Boggild added: "This is not a cure, it can't reverse damage caused by MS, but it effectively halts the degeneration in its tracks."
Travel agent Karen Ayres was diagnosed with MS in 2002 and spent three months paralysed in hospital.
The 28-year-old feared she would never walk again but four years after starting the treatment she has regained the full use of her body.
She said: "I really do see it as a miracle cure. I have finished a masters degree in psychology, backpacked across five continents, and returned to work. The treatment has given me my life back."
A spokesman for the MS Society said: "It is very early days but these results are extremely encouraging."
My best friend has been diagnosd with MS.
Thanks for this.
Similar story here:
My daughter's girlfriend was diagnosed at the age of 22, last year. This is wonderful news!
As long as it's not the evil weed!
I've known several people that have been stricken with this horrible affliction. Although it is too late for most of them, this is still wonderful news for those recently diagnosed! Thanks for the post!
so waht are these drugs?
Did they need embryonic stem cells? If not, hopefully, this will shut the RATS and the rest of the "Death to unborn babies" cult up.
Seriously, if this is accurate, it's very good news.
"Seriously, if this is accurate, it's very good news."
If you are interested you can search for the thread on the Aussies who are thinking they'v e made a great advance against Alzheimer's disease. Again, no murdered babies required. And still another thread on using some cells from a person's own nose (and when I say nose, I mean nose) to treat spinal cord injuries.
I'd just like to ask some of these folks if killing a two year old would get the job done, would they be for it?
But seioursly FR is filled with good medical news today.
From the article above: "It involves a limited course of the chemotherapy drug Mitoxantrone, which is normally used to treat cancer, followed by the MS antiattack drug Copaxone."
Here's a link to some additional info:
MS runs in my family and yet it is not considered a genetic disease. My uncle stopped all treatments and vitamin courses and had dramatic improvement. If he had been on a drug regimen and experienced the same level of improvement it would have generated a similar news story. He regained his eyesight enough to read and his motor skills enough to type.
Until the cause of MS is determined treatment for the symptoms is the best that can be done.
for later read
I suggest you search long and hard because everytime I post a story along these lines the moderaters quickly decide it's not worthy of being on the news thread and move it to general chat or some other such where the story dies a quick death.
So does it restore myelin or not?
seems like if it did, even the early lay piece above would say so.......
I doubt it, since it only seems effective in the early stages of the disease.
More info here:
My daughter has recently began a chemotherapy treatment for her MS (she was diagnosed about 10 years ago at age 20).
Bump for later and to find out what this is supposed to mean...
"found that patients with the aggressive form of MS had a reduced relapse rate of 90 per cent under the regime."
Maybe it's supposed to be regimen?
Seriously, I know several people affected by MS. Thank God for these medical breakthroughs.
This is still just more immuno-suppressive stuff. I tried that kind of stuff for 10 years for sarcoid (another auto-immune disease). It's just a trade off of better times now for a shorter life. Then, a researcher out in CA found the bacteria behind the auto-immune diseases, and where and how they hide from common antibiotic approaches; and how to kill them.
It works for sarcoid; also Lupus and Fibromyalgia. There are now a couple of folks using it for MS. Check on www.marshallprotocol.com from time to time to see how they are doing.
See post 19. You should follow the progress of the MS folk at www.marshallprotocol.com. My bet is that it's a cure; it worked for sarcoidosis for me.
Thanks for the info! I'll bookmark the link and pass it on to my daughter's friend.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I'm glad to hear that you've been helped by this.
I wish it did. That would then be in effect a cure for not just MS but many diseases and disorders such as Transverse Myelitis where myelin is destroyed..
Sounds good to me.
Thanks for the ping. What I'm having a hard time understanding is that they are talking about stopping relapses in a progressive/aggressive form of the disease.
Must be talking about PRMS, as RRMS, SPMS, and PPMS wouldn't fit those criteria.
PRMS is my diagnosis.
I'm RRMS, and have relapses, but most RRMS aren't considered to have a "poor prognosis" and I knew they don't usually recommend chemo drugs unless you've failed on the CRAB drugs. (I use Betaseron and seem to do well on it.)
Up until now, have they recommended any other treatment for PRMS?
I sure do hope this proves out.
There is so much promise, we really need this progress to keep on coming. Even if it does not prove to be what it appears, there will be increased knowledge. That increased knowledge will help point the way for even better progress.
Here is a different perspective on this story:
I'm having to wait until October before I begin my switch from Rebif to Tysabri. My neurologist says that he recommends this for PRMS (I've since moved to Cleveland, OH, from Dallas since my initial diagnosis of MS). I don't know how Tysabri affects RRMS.
RX, good link. Thanx.
Tysabri has been recommended for "relapsing" forms, so it can be used for RRMS. However, prescription guidelines, and I imagine insurance guidelines, say you must have failed on the current disease modifying drugs...at least that is how they're starting the reintroduction.
I do fine on Betaseron, so I know I wouldn't qualify.
Best of luck to you. I've heard some amazing things from folks who took Tysabri during the trials.
That's really interesting. I'm SHOCKED that big pharmaceuticals would be playing those games...just kidding...I saw "The Fugitive", LOL.
Anyhoo, I'm glad Tysabri will be available for those who don't have success with the other therapies.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out though, IMHO.
I'm just wondering how exacerbations will be handled. From what I've read, if you have worsening symptoms (which is so normal in relapsing MS) they'll want to check for PML and get an MRI. After all, the lady who died from PML was thought to just have an exacerbation when in fact she was developing PML.
How many MRI's are the insurance companies willing to pay for in a year, to monitor a drug? Will this further hamper their reluctance to pay for the med? And they say they don't believe a short course of steroids will hurt during an exacerbation or increase the risk of PML...but they don't really know? So many unanswered questions. I think it's definitely worth the "risk" because the number of incidents were so low during the trials.
Another thing that might limit TY is when people start getting hit with their co-pays for the treatment. There were reports of costs ranging from $3,000 to $7000 for one infusion (depending on the infusion center and the mark-up of the drug.) If you have group insurance, no problem, you'll have a non-formulary fee for the drug, and the infusion will be covered by a regular co-pay. But if you have traditional 80/20 insurance, that'll be a chunk to pay every month.
I'll be following the drug and it's results. I'm sure just like any of the treatments some people will do well, others will have issues.
Like you, I know folks who experienced Tysabri firsthand. Also, I had the opportunity to watch the webcast of the FDA advisory panel meeting last March during which the panel unanimously recommended Tysabri be brought back.
If anyone has any doubts about this drug's effectiveness, I suggest they read the transcripts from the dozens of Tysabri patients who testified at that meeting. ( The meeting had to be extended an extra day to accomodate the many who wanted to testify.)
Here's the PDF file from that day's meeting. Patient testimony starts on page 232.
Thanks for the MS ping. My neurologist is continually amazed at how "up" on the new developments we are.
We seem to be on the verge of some truly historic medical breakthroughs these days.