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Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
For people with MS, online communities, such as Facebook, are proving to be incredible connecting tools. This has certainly been the case for Sandi St. Clair-Vargo who, after joining Facebook, began to discover a global network of support.
"Meeting other people with MS has been amazing...there are 100 plus people I've met from all over the world through Facebook," Sandi said. She describes these people, who she only knows digitally, as "kindred spirits," because they know what she is going through.
"All these people reassure you," Sandi said. "We're all going through the same thing."
Sandi has connected with many of these "kindred spirits" through MS-specific groups--of which there are more than 500. Each group offers something different, and runs the gamut from "Fight Multiple Sclerosis" to "Tysabri: As long as my body tolerates it, I'm not scared of PML!" The groups are key in connecting people with MS, despite geographical distance.
Have you seen the Rocky Mountain MS Center Facebook page yet? Find it HERE.
In this week's eMS News, we continue with our series, MS Therapies in the Pipeline.
Written by: Dr. Timothy Vollmer, medical director of the Rocky Mountain MS Center.
Fatigue—low-energy, difficulty with thinking, and an overwhelming need to sleep—is one of the most common symptoms of MS, and the hardship of finding a means of alleviating it can be equally frustrating. For many people, medication coupled with lifestyle modifications—such as good nutrition and exercise—are most effective.
In the last 20 years, a number of medications have been tested and consequently used to help combat MS-related fatigue, including amantadine, modafinil, adderall and Ritalin. The use of these medications as treatments for fatigue is off-label, meaning that although the four drugs are FDA approved, they were approved to treat other illnesses or conditions.
Amantadine (Symmetrel) is an antiviral medication often used to treat influenza; it is also commonly used as a therapy for Parkinson’s disease. The mechanism behind its capacity to help alleviate MS-related fatigue remains unknown and many MS investigators and physicians have deemed the medication—at best—moderately effective. Study results to date have not documented consistent improvements in fatigue, and many investigators see a critical need for larger and more in-depth studies on amantadine. Low doses (100 or 200 mg/day) have been accompanied by few side effects. Higher doses (300+), however, can cause a blotchy, discoloration of the skin called livedo reticularis. (Cont. HERE)
Source for this article is the Rocky Mountain MS Center. Click the link found above to read this full article.
A single-centre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of interferon beta-1b on primary progressive and transitional multiple sclerosis
MSRC can help in a number of ways.
Firstly we are able to talk to you personally if you contact us on 0800 783 0518. (Unfortunately this 0800 number will not work from abroad and you will need to use our office number and the appropriate code from your country e.g. 011441206505444 from USA and 00441206505444 from Europe)
Alternatively you can use our office number which is 01206 505444 or you can contact us from the website, or, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are usually available Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm and have an answer machine outside of those hours which we always respond to as soon as we can
We are pleased to announce that the 24 Hour Telephone Counselling Service is available and can be reached by dialling the freephone number 0800 783 0518 and choosing option 1 (within the UK only. Access from abroad is as explained above.)
In some circumstances the support might just take the form of being someone to talk to and share concerns or fears. It might be the provision of information at the time or by providing leaflets or books that could help. We will also refer you to other organisations if they are better suited to provide the support needed at the time.
We are also willing to come out and give talks (UK only unless someone is willing to pay the air fare to somewhere nice) on any subject connected with MS that a group requests. This is sometimes used by professional groups so that they can gain a real insight into the matters affecting their clients which they should be aware of.
If the need is a question of financial support for a group (Sorry but we cannot help individuals under our current rules) then contact us with your request and we will always look at ways of helping. You will be guaranteed a positive attitude from us even if in the end we have to say no - in other words our instinct is to help and if we can possibly find a way we will.
The only way to really find out how we can help is to get in touch about your particular situation and give us a try. We hope you will.
A major unmet need in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis is a medication to increase walking ability.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Novartis International AG announced today that oral FTY720 (fingolimod) was able to significantly reduce relapse rates and slow disability progression over two years in a large-scale, phase 3 trial involving 1,272 people with relapsing-remitting MS. According to a company press release, safety data confirmed a positive benefit-risk profile for the lower of two doses tested, and the company plans to submit applications to drug regulatory agencies for marketing approval of the potential therapy at the end of 2009.
Background: FTY720 binds to a docking site (sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor, or S1P receptor) on immune cells, including T cells and B cells, that have been implicated in causing nervous system damage in MS. The drug appears to induce immune cells to remain in lymph nodes, where they can do little harm, preventing them from migrating into the brain and spinal cord.
Positive results from an earlier phase 2 study led to several large-scale phase 3 trials. Initial positive results from the TRANSFORMS study, comparing two different doses of fingolimod with Avonex® (interferon beta-1a, Biogen Idec) over only one year were presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in spring 2009. Adverse side effects seen more often in the fingolimod treatment groups in this trial included temporary reductions in heart rate at the start of therapy, small increases in blood pressure, and a few cases of macular edema (swelling of the back of the eye). Two deaths from herpes infections occurred in the group taking the higher dose of fingolimod, and seven cases of localized skin cancer occurred in the fingolimod groups.
EMD Serono Submits Application for Cladribine Tablets as a Potential Oral Short-Course Multiple Sclerosis Therapy in the United States
- Press Release
- Source: EMD Serono, Inc. - On Wednesday September 30, 2009
ROCKLAND, Mass., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- EMD Serono, Inc. an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today the submission of a New Drug Application (NDA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Cladribine Tablets, EMD Serono's proprietary investigational oral formulation of cladribine, as a therapy for reducing relapses in people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Cladribine Tablets has the potential to be the first orally administered disease-modifying therapy available for people living with relapsing MS, as all disease-modifying therapies currently approved for the treatment of MS are parenteral therapies.
"As a leader in the area of neurodegenerative diseases, we continue to focus on making a positive difference in the lives of people living with MS, and their families," said Fereydoun Firouz, President and CEO of EMD Serono, Inc. "If approved, short-course therapy with Cladribine Tablets could transform the way people approach their treatment options, and meet an unmet need as an oral, disease modifying drug available for MS. We look forward to working with the FDA during the course of the regulatory process."
Patient-Targeted Messaging for Emerging Multiple Sclerosis Agents Needs to Highlight Efficacy and Preservation of Quality of Life
WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that patient-targeted messaging for emerging multiple sclerosis oral agents will need to provide high-level information regarding the efficacy and preservation of quality of life and forego catchy and/or short taglines highlighting oral dosing. The knowledgeable multiple sclerosis patient population is likely to already be informed about oral dosing and will want information regarding efficacy and safety so that they can readily compare these new agents to the efficacy and safety of currently available agents.
Continue reading this article on emerging MS Oral Therapies, by clicking here.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
MS Trial Alert: Study of Oral Teriflunomide (HMR1726) Recruiting People at High Risk for MS Worldwide
September 29, 2009
Summary: Investigators worldwide are recruiting people at high risk for multiple sclerosis (MS) for a study comparing two doses of oral HMR1726 (teriflunomide), an immune system-modulating agent, and inactive placebo. People at high risk for MS are those who experience a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS, a single neurological event suggestive of demyelination, such as focal weakness, numbness, coordination problems, or decrease in vision in one eye) and brain magnetic resonance imaging findings suggestive of MS. The study is sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis.
Rationale: Multiple sclerosis occurs when the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord. Teriflunomide is an agent that may decrease immune system activity in MS. Other studies of teriflunomide in MS are ongoing.
Eligibility and Details: People eligible for participation include individuals 18-55 years of age who experience a clinically isolated syndrome (a single neurological event suggestive of demyelination, such as focal weakness, numbness, coordination problems, or decrease in vision in one eye) and magnetic resonance imaging findings suggestive of MS.
Participants will be randomly assigned to receive 7 mg teriflunomide, 14 mg or placebo once daily for 108 weeks (about 2 years). The main outcome measure of the study is to determine whether the study drug reduces the time to conversion to clinically definite MS significantly more than placebo. Other measures will be followed including functioning of patients and changes in brain MRI scanning.
Contact: To learn more about the enrollment criteria for this study, and to find out if you are eligible to participate, please visit http://www.thetopicstudy.com/.
source: National MS Society
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Multiple Sclerosis Research Group, Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, 3800, Australia. email@example.com.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that predmoninantly affects young adults. The pathogenic mechanisms are complex, however numerous studies indicate that the disease is initiated by an autoimmune attack on protein targets present in the central nervous system.
Given that a dysfunctional immune system perpetuates the pathophysiological mechanisms that characterize this inflammatory disorder, several therapeutic approaches that target immune cells or their secreted mediators have been generated and are currently used clinically.
Although these strategies have been partially beneficial to a proportion of patients, current therapies are not particularly effective at preventing disease progression. As such there is a large and unmet need for the development of more effective treatments.
Owing to a number of promising results obtained in mouse models of multiple sclerosis, cell therapies implementing hematopoietic, mesenchymal and neural stem cells may provide practical vehicles for in situ immunomodulation, neuroprotection and regeneration.
In concert with these approaches, gene therapy strategies are being investigated to restore antigen-specific tolerance or to deliver anti-inflammatory molecules. Furthermore targeted delivery of glial or neurotropic factors, which counteract the activity of inhibitory molecules within the neurodegenerative component of the lesion, is also being pursued. It is conceivable that these experimental approaches alone, or in combination with emerging and current treatments, may establish a rational protocol for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and potentially other autoimmune disorders.
PMID: 19747118 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
For related articles, click here
Department of Neurology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, TX, USA.
The laboratory evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has been routinely employed as a diagnostic test in the diagnosis of neuroimmunological disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Recently, CSF analyses in MS have garnered renewed interest as a tool for monitoring disease activity and prognosis. With the identification of patients that are very early in their disease course, namely patients with a radiologically isolated (RIS) or a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), the true value of these evaluations has yet to be fully explored. Ultimately, the hope is that biomarkers within this compartment will be identified that will identify etiologic factors of MS and other inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system. In this review we discuss the history of CSF diagnostic tests and the most recent methodological advances. We also outline the potentially important diagnostic role and possible limitations of these tests.
PMID: 19782408 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Santa Lucia Foundation, 00143 Rome, Italy.
Although Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is regarded as a white matter disease, the incidence of demyelination and axonal injury is prominent also in gray matter. In MS, extracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an important mediator of central nervous system pathology via its ability to cause oligodendrocyte excitotoxicity. We have analyzed the distribution pattern of all ionotropic P2X and metabotropic P2Y receptors for ATP in postmortem samples of the cerebral cortex from healthy human subjects as well as MS patients. We focus particularly on the P2Y(12) subtype that is highly enriched in oligodendrocytes. We correlate the expression of this receptor to the extent of gray matter demyelination and pathological alterations occurring during secondary progressive MS.
Using triple immunofluorescence and confocal analysis, we show that in sections of cerebral cortex from postmortem MS brains, the P2Y(12) protein is present in myelin and interlaminar astrocytes but absent from protoplasmic astrocytes residing in the deeper cortical layers, from microglia/macrophages, and from intact demyelinated axons. We report that a decreased P2Y(12) receptor immunoreactivity in proximity to the lesions is directly correlated with the extent of demyelination found in all types of gray matter cortical plaques (I-III) and subcortical white matter. Our study provides further insights into the pathogenetic features of MS and suggests that the loss of purinergic P2Y(12) receptors might be detrimental to tissue integrity.
PMID: 19783848 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Now a multi-published inspirational author and public speaker, Barbara strives to instill hope in her audiences, especially when life has other plans. Barbara’s determined to touch the world, one heart at a time.
Half of all net proceeds from the sale of Mountains for Maddi will be donated to MS research, and is supported by the MS Society of Canada.
Readers can reach Barbara via her website at: www.barbaradickson.ca
or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
About: Mountains for Maddi:
Maddi Madigan, while on vacation, careens into Dr. Gregory Connor on a snowy ski slope. Entangled with Greg and buried in snow, her heart skitters, almost as far as her ski poles.
She soaks up the magnificent Rocky Mountain atmosphere over the next few days while avoiding an entanglement of another kind—romance. She bears the scars from a broken engagement, and is convinced men and a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis don’t mix; at least that’s what her head tells her.
Too bad her heart has other plans. Greg, utterly smitten, pursues Maddi the same way he works—hard. When she lingers just beyond his romantic grasp, he rallies with dogged determination.
Can Maddi make it through the week without her heart ending up in a puddle of slush at Greg’s feet? How hard should she try?
Could Greg truly offer hope for a Happily Ever After?
Learn how to get your copy of this romantic novel by clicking the link found above to reach Barbara