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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Trial MS medicine changed my life - An MS Patient's story

Published November 5, 2013

By Clifford Fram

Not long ago, Stephen Mudgway was in terrible pain and slept most of the day, his quality of life ruined by a dreadful form of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Now, thanks to an experimental new treatment developed in New Zealand, he has energy and is able to get out and about.

"I enjoy life," he said.

Just a few months ago, Mr Mudgway, who has secondary progressive MS, was so fatigued he slept more than 20 hours a day and took six different medicines, including 40mg of codeine on some days.
Now, apart from a weekly dose of the treatment, he pops only one pill a day.

He sleeps for a restful eight hours each night. He can do his buttons, pull up his zip, watch TV, read a book and transfer himself from his wheelchair to his bed.

He has regained the co-ordination needed to steer his electric wheelchair.

"I can hold a normal conversation and meet new people," he said in a 30-minute telephone interview from his Christchurch nursing home.

The treatment, MIS416, is developed by New Zealand company Innate Immunotherapeutics, which has moved its operations to Australia for placebo-controlled trials on 100 people.

Close to a year ago, Mr Mudgway took part in a small three-month trial, which involved having the bacteria-based medication pumped into his veins once a week.

He and most the other participants experienced rapid improvements to their quality of life.
But these ended when the trial stopped, says Mr Mudgway.

"I went back to how I was. Even worse," he said.

He then waited six months for permission to carry on treatment on compassionate grounds.
There are no approved therapies for secondary progressive MS, says Dr Matthew Miles, CEO of MS Research Australia.

"MS is a complex disease. But we are now convinced there is an auto-immune component. Particularly in the early stages."

The medicine pumped into Mr Mudgway's veins uses two types of bacteria to regulate his immune system and reduce inflammation in his nervous system.

"It gives the body an opportunity to rebalance and repair," said Dr Gillian Webster, who heads the development team.


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