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Disclaimer: 'MS Views and News' DOES NOT endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.

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CHAMPIONS TACKLING MS - AWARDS Dinner, Honoring Aaron Boster, MD and Jon e. Glaser, DDS - now open for registration. Visit www.events.msvn.org

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cutting-Edge {ADULT} Stem Cell Research at Tisch MS Research Center of New York

REPAIR, REGENERATE & RENEW: Cutting-Edge Stem Cell Research at
Tisch MS Research Center of New York

Our adult stem cell treatment received FDA approval for a Phase I Clinical Trial that has the potential to repair the damage caused by MS.
This exciting milestone took over ten years to reach and brings indescribable hope to MS patients and their loved ones all over the world. 

REPAIR

Our stem cell therapy is the star of the research program at the Tisch MS Research Center of New York (Tisch MSRCNY), a 501(c)(3), independent, non-profit research center dedicated to finding the cause of and cure for multiple sclerosis (MS). The Center focuses on patient-based research, bringing findings rapidly from the laboratory into clinical application to treat symptoms of MS and to halt or reverse damage caused by the disease. 
About MSMS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that attacks the myelin sheath that surrounds axons around nerves and can cause numbness, pain, vision loss, difficulty walking, and even paralysis. 

  •  MS affects 2.3 million people worldwide
  •  Over 400,000 people in the U.S. suffer from MS
  •  Every week, approximately 200 people are diagnosed with MS
  •  MS affects young adults in their prime as most are diagnosed between age  20-40
  •  MS affects twice as many women than men
  •  The cause of MS is not yet known
  •  Although there are some treatments that may halt progression, there is no cure for MS
In 2003, Drs. Saud A. Sadiq, Violaine Harris and their research team began leading the stem cell science revolution by conducting research on strategies to repair the damage caused by MS.

REGENERATE

In 2007, we started the process of obtaining FDA approval for a Phase I clinical trial. Finally, in August 2013, we received FDA approval to move ahead! 
  • The objective of the Phase I trial is to test safety.
  • Data from the Phase I trial will lead to an improved strategy for Phase II
  • Positive outcomes of the trial may indicate the use of this therapy in other neurological diseases like ALS and Parkinson's Disease, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries.
Why Stem Cells? 
In pre-clincal, non-human experiments of our stem cell therapy, renewal, repair and regeneration of myelin occurred in the CNS after intrathecal (via spinal fluid, not intravenous) injection.

From our preclinical models, we know that stem cells injected into the spinal fluid can have significant benefit in terms of improved neurological symptoms.

MS is characterized by brain inflammation, loss of myelin, damage to oligodendrocytes (the cells that make myelin), damage to neurons, and scar formation in the brain. As a result, nerve signals are not properly conducted, causing loss of neurological function. Stem cells are hypothesized to promote repair in MS by migrating to areas of demyelination, blocking damage-forming events, and enabling repair. 
Why Neural Stem Cells?
Our unique clinical trial uses adult autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells as a source for neural progenitors (MSC-NPs) to promote myelin repair that can potentially reverse or prevent disability in MS patients. Tisch MSRCNY is the only MS Center that has received FDA approval for a stem cell therapy using MSC-NPs for MS patients

Procedure

  • Bone marrow is taken from patient's hip or sternum
  • The sample is taken to the laboratory to isolate and expand the mesenthymal stem cells (MSCs)
  • Neural progenitors (NPs) are derived from the MSCs to produce MSC-NPs
  • MSC-NPs are injected into the patient's spinal fluid
  • This process is repeated once every three months

RENEW 

We are eager to start the study.

There's only one thing we now critically need: FUNDING

We are applying for grants from federal, state and private entities to help fund the multi-phase study. To get started, we need to equip our lab with essential supplies listed below to conduct the study on the 20 patients.


The cost for each treatment is approximately $10,000, so the total cost for 20 patients who receive 3 treatments each for Phase I is approximately $600,000. 

REASONS TO GIVE


 

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Thousands of Multiple Sclerosis patients are getting worse each day; They need another Option, another choice

OVER 5000 Signatures and still enrolling --
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The MS-STAT trial, shows Simvastatin Benefits SPMS (Secondary Progressive MS)

The MS-STAT trial, showing a significant reduction in brain atrophy in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) receiving high-dose simvastatin, has now beenpublished in The Lancet.
The phase 2 study was first presented, and reported by Medscape Medical News, at the 28th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) meeting in 2012.
Lead author Jeremy Chataway, MD, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, United Kingdom, toldMedscape Medical News that the results are "very exciting," given that no drugs are available for secondary progressive MS, and he hopes the publication will help in securing funding for a phase 3 trial.
"If we had shown a 10% to 20% reduction in brain atrophy, people may have asked if that was enough to justify a larger trial. But we saw a 43% reduction, and in addition there was a small effect on disability, even though the study wasn't powered for that. That is the icing on the cake."
Dr. Chataway noted that the brain shrinks at about 0.6% per year in patients with MS, but this was slowed to 0.3% in patients taking simvastatin. "We know brain atrophy is related to disability, so reducing atrophy should reduce disability," he added.
A "Tried and Tested" Drug
"Another advantage of simvastatin is that it is a tried and tested drug — the side effects are well known so there won't be any nasty surprises, and there was no difference in side effects between active treatment and placebo in this study. In addition, this drug is very cheap," he said.
In an accompanying Comment, Jacqueline Palace, MD, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom, and Neil Robertson, MD, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom, say the MS-STAT study is "a promising and novel development." But they stress that the data must be considered preliminary and need confirmation in a larger trial.
New information in the paper suggests simvastatin does not appear to be working with an immunologic mechanism because there was no effect on inflammatory or immune markers. Dr. Chataway speculated that the mechanism could have more to do with endothelial function, protecting blood vessels in the brain.
"We didn't see the classical immunological response associated with the MS drugs used in relapsing-remitting MS, but progressive MS is a different type of disease," he added. "We know simvastatin reduces cholesterol so it could be improving the blood supply to the brain. These patients have had MS for 20 years or more. Their brains are vulnerable. It could also be improving endothelial function or acting as a neuroprotectant."
In the study, 140 patients with secondary progressive MS were randomly assigned to simvastatin, 80 mg daily, or placebo. The primary endpoint — the mean annualized atrophy rate — was significantly lower in the simvastatin group. In addition, there was a small, but significant, effect in 2 of the secondary disability outcomes: the physician-reported (Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS]) and the patient-reported (Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale [MSIS-29]) scales.

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Oral Contraceptives May Increase Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

multiple sclerosis and birth control pillsA new study shows that women who have taken oral contraceptives have an increased risk ofmultiple sclerosis (MS). However, this doesn’t mean that women should stop using birth control, Fox News reports.
Researchers used membership data from Kaiser Permanente Southern California and analyzed the health records of 305 women aged 14 to 48 who were diagnosed with MS or its precursor, clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), between 2008 and 2011. They looked at the women’s birth control use up to three years prior to the onset of MS symptoms. According to Fox News, researchers found that the risk of developing MS among women who used oral contraceptives for at least three months increased 30 percent, compared to a control group of 3,050 women who did not have MS.
Study author Dr. Kerstin Hellwig, a post-doctoral research fellow at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, told Fox News that 29.2 percent of women with multiple sclerosis used birth control before their diagnoses, while 23 percent of women in the healthy control group used birth control, showing an increased risk with higher use of the drug.
There was also a slightly higher risk for women who did not currently use an oral contraceptive but had in some time in the three years prior to being diagnosed, researchers found, concluding that use of birth control is not a firmly established cause for MS, but they do see a link.

“It’s not clear what role [hormones] play in the development of the disease, but it’s clear that two to three times more women than men have MS,” Hellwig said to Fox News.
Hellwig’s team studied data for women who used oral contraceptives for at least three months, which limited the analysis because they weren’t able to study lifetime exposure, she noted. She expects to see an increased risk with longer use in their final analysis, which will be presented at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting. Most of the women used an estrogen and progestin formulation of birth control, a commonly used combination.

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Slideshow: Looking Good and Feeling Good With MS


Click this: http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/ss/ms-feeling-looking-good-slideshow

To see the video slideshow on WebMD



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Can Genes Infected Generations Ago Cause MS?

Can Genes Infected Generations Ago Cause MS?

Written for MS Views and News by Cherie C. Binns RN BS MSCN 
March 21, 2013


On March 21st, 2014 -  MedPage Today® posted an article entitled HIV and MS: Could a Link Lead to New MS Treatment?  

I was asked by Stuart Schlossman to “interpret” what was in the article as he felt the average layperson would not be able to wade through the technicality of the writing.  

Here goes…

Currently there are two separate Clinical Trials ongoing (one in Britain and one in Sweden) that are looking at genes as they are affected by exposure to viruses.   There appears to be a similarity of response of some of these genes in the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patient as has been recently recognized in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) patient.  In other words, it appears that the same genes are affected in the same way in both groups creating an immune response that makes one ill.

This has led some researchers to theorize that remnants of viruses from “eons ago” have affected specific genes in the Genome which, in HIV, respond to specific anti-viral medications.

The above mentioned clinical trials are looking at small numbers of Persons with Multiple Sclerosis (PWMS) as they are treated with anti-viral medications used currently to treat persons with HIV infection in the hopes that they will see a reduction in new brain lesions and disease activity.

Researchers are hopeful that the findings of these two trials will be published within the coming months of 2014.  This has the potential of being a very exciting finding as medication is already effective in treating HIV infected genes that look like the same genes which have been identified in MS.

If you wish to read the entire article, here is a link where you may do so:



Stuart, thanks Cherie for taking the time to re-write so that we can understand the technical version


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Multiple sclerosis: raising awareness of a complex disease

What do you know about multiple sclerosis? Chances are, very little. "Many people aren't aware of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, or even of the condition itself," says Dr. Emma Gray. Considering that approximately 2.5 million people around the world have multiple sclerosis, it is surprising that there is such lack of awareness, but sadly, this is the case.
Dr. Gray is research communications manager at the Multiple Sclerosis Society - a UK charity that funds multiple sclerosis(MS) research, provides information and support to people with MS, and plays a large role in increasing awareness of the condition.
For the MS society and numerous MS charities worldwide, March and April are the key times of the year for raising awareness. For the US, March is National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month, while in the UK, MS awareness week will take place from April 28th - May 4th.
In line with these campaigns, we look at the signs and symptoms associated with MS, how the disease is diagnosed, treatment options and what is being done to increase awareness of the disease.

MS: a disease of the central of nervous system

MS is a condition of the central nervous system (CNS). It is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system attacks itself.
It is believed that T cells (immune cells) in the body mistake myelin - the protective coating of the nerve cell fibers - for a foreign invader and attack it, just like they might attack a virus or bacteria.
Nerve cells neurons
It is believed that MS is caused by T cells attacking myelin - the protective coating of the nerve cell fibers.
Diagnosis of MS is most common in adults between the ages of 20 and 40, but children and older adults can still develop the condition. The disease is most common in women, who are three times more likely to develop it than men.
MS is not a hereditary condition. However, if a person has a family member with the disease, their risk of developing MS increases from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 50.
According to the MS society, the condition is more common in people who live further away from the equator.
It is very common in Britain, North America, Canada, Scandinavia, southern Australia and New Zealand, but extremely rare in Malaysia or Equador - suggesting that environmental factors may play a role in disease development.
Past research has suggested other factors may be a cause of MS. Medical News Today recently reported on a study suggesting that obesity and the use of birth control pills may increase MS risk, while other research suggests that a soil-based bacteria called Clostrodium perfringens may be a cause.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cause of Multiple Sclerosis & Other Demyelinating Diseases Given New Explanation By Researchers

Multiple Sclerosis myelinResearchers in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Chemical Engineering have published in theProceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, the results of a new study explaining the cause of demyelinating diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
The term demyelination (by which these diseases are classified) describes a loss of myelin in the axons’ sheaths, leading to their degeneration. 
The most common of these diseases is multiple sclerosis.  MS affects approximately 400,000 people in the United states alone, with 200 new reported cases each week.
Myelin acts as insulation around nerve cells and is essential for an efficient and effective transference of the electrical signals along axons through the nervous system, maintaining a rapid transfer of impulses. A lipid bi-layer, proteins, and water compose the myelin layer of insulation.
Dong-Woog Lee, researcher in UCSB and the study’s lead author explains “Basically, myelin is this multiple stacking of lipid bi-layers, they need to be compact, and with very little water between the bilayers.”
Aiming for a molecular approach to myelin membrane interactions, the research group studied the ability of these layers to adhere to each other, considering that even the slightest change in the composition of these myelin bi-layers can affect their ability to insulate the axons.
They deposited a lipid bilayer on a mica substrate before immersing them in a buffer solution containing principally myelin basic protein (MBP), a biomolecule commonly found in myelin sheaths whose principal function is to maintain an optimal structure. Thereafter, with each of the two opposing surfaces on the “surface forces apparatus” (a highly sensitive instrument capable of measuring interactions at the molecular level between membranes), they brought the two bilayers close together, allowing them to interact with each other. Later they pulled them apart, being able to measure the strength of the interaction given by the MBP. They performed this experiment with both healthy myelin and with “disease-like” myelin bilayers.
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An interview on INDUCING Re-Myelination (with NDC-1308) in Multiple Sclerosis

Listen to this Blog Talk Radio interview with your Hosts:
Stuart Schlossman and Deanna Kirkpatrick

as we Interviewed:
Dr. James Yarger, a researcher about Inducing Re-Myelination using NDC-1308

LISTEN to this Interview by clicking here


ENDECE Neural recently published data showing that NDC-1308 induces a dramatic upregulation of genes in signaling pathways involved in myelin sheath production. Here, Dr. Nye will present new data from studies in mice showing that NDC-1308 demonstrates:

Significant remyelination in both the hippocampal and cortical brain regions using a mouse model of demyelination, in which the neurotoxicant cuprizone was used to remove the myelin sheath from the axons (nerve fibers) of mice
Rapid absorption into target tissues of the central nervous system (CNS)
A favorable safety profile

Additionally, the company has laid out a proposed timeline to the clinic for NDC-1308, including plans to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials in 2015.


About NDC-1308
NDC-1308 is a novel chemical entity designed to address one of the root causes of MS, and is being developed for potential use either alone or in combination with other MS therapeutics that slow the progression of the disease. By controlling key genes in pathways leading to myelin synthesis, NDC-1308 appears to induce restoration of the lost myelin sheath that is believed to cause the devastating symptoms of MS. NDC-1308 is a small molecule that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, allowing it to reach the tissues in the brain and spinal cord where promoting myelin production is needed. NDC-1308 works by inducing differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) into mature oligodendrocytes, cells that synthesize and maintain the myelin sheath. ENDECE Neural discovered NDC-1308, and owns the intellectual property surrounding the compound.


About ENDECE Neural
ENDECE Neural is a private biotechnology company at the forefront of developing therapies to repair and potentially reverse damage caused by devastating neurological diseases such as MS. A wholly owned subsidiary of ENDECE LLC, ENDECE Neural was founded in 2011 to focus on the development of what could be the first drug capable of inducing remyelination of damaged nerves in patients with MS. The company is leveraging decades of accumulated knowledge about how activation of estrogen receptors in a specific manner affects gene regulation. Researchers at ENDECE Neural have identified small-molecule compounds that upregulate key genes in pathways involved in promoting myelin sheath synthesis. ENDECE Neural is developing NDC-1308, which appears to directly induce OPCs to differentiate into mature oligodendrocytes that restore the depleted myelin sheath in rodent models.  ENDECE Neural discovered and owns the intellectual property surrounding its compounds, and the company’s management team has a track record of successfully taking products from the laboratory through FDA approval and commercial release.




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Urologic Dysfunction (Bladder Issues) with Multiple Sclerosis






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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why is early treatment so important?


Why is early treatment so important?


Of the disease-modifying medications that are now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of MS, nine are considered first-line options. Of these, five are delivered by injection: Avonex® (interferon beta-1a), Betaseron® (interferon beta-1b), Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate), Extavia® (interferon beta-1b) and Rebif® (interferon beta-1a). Three medications are taken by mouth: Aubagio® (teriflunomide), Gilenya® (fingolimod) and Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate). One medication — Tysabri® (natalizumab) — is given by infusion and is generally reserved for people who have very active disease or have not responded to treatment with another medicdation.
MS experts recommend that anyone who has been diagnosed with a relapsing form of MS should consider beginning treatment with one of these medications as soon as possible. Some people who have been diagnosed with a clinically-isolated syndrome (CIS — a first episode of neurologic damage) may benefit from these medications as well.

The possible benefits of these medications include:
  • Reduction in numbers of new lesions as shown on magnetic resonance imagning (MRI)
  • Reduction in the number of exacerbations (also called relapses, attacks, flare-ups)
  • Reduction in progression of disability
  • Probable reduction in future disease activity and improvement in quality of life
Starting treatment early in the disease is particularly important because:
  • Research indicates that permanent damage may be occurring in the central nervous system (CNS) even before a person is experiencing any symptoms.
  • All of the available medications are more effective during the early (inflammatory) phase of MS than in the later (more progressive) phase of the disease.

source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society
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Why do some people stop taking their medication?

The disease-modifying medications are designed for long-term use — and it is recommended that people continue their medication unless the side effects are too severe, the medication is clearly not working or a better treatment becomes available. However, many people stop their medication after a period of weeks or months — and here are some reasons why:
“I’m not feeling any better.”
It’s important to remember that the disease-modifying medications are designed to reduce the underlying disease activity. They don’t treat symptoms, cure the disease, or make people feel better — in fact, you may not be able to feel them working at all. But your disease-modifying medication is an important investment in your future because it’s working “behind the scenes” to help slow disease.
“The side effects make me feel worse than the disease.”
Some people have more problems with side effects than others. Whatever side effects you are experiencing are best managed in collaboration with your healthcare team and the drug manufacturer’s support program. People who experience intolerable side effects that don’t improve over time should talk with their doctor about other medication options.
“I have taken my medication but I had an exacerbation anyway.”
None of these medications are able to cure MS or completely stop its progression. Most people will continue to experience an occasional exacerbation even while taking their medication faithfully. If your doctor determines that you are having too many relapses or developing more than the expected number of new lesions — he or she will offer other treatment options.
“Maybe something else would work better for me.”
Since it takes a few months for a medication to begin working in your system, switching frequently from one drug to another leaves you unprotected for long periods of time. Your best strategy is to give the medication you are taking sufficient time for you and your doctor to be able to evaluate its effectiveness for you.
“My insurance stopped covering the medication I was taking.”
The pharmaceutical manufacturers and the National MS Society are available to help you sort out insurance issues. If your insurance company no longer covers the medication you are taking, call for assistance as soon as possible in order to avoid interruption in your treatment. If no solution can be found to the problem, your physician may recommend a different medication that is covered by your insurance.
“I can no longer afford the co-payments for my medication.”
Insurance companies can raise or lower co-payments without notice. This is another situation in which the manufacturer or the Society may be able to assist you. Do not stop your medication without checking to see if either of these resources can help you.

If you have questions or concerns about any of these issues, be sure to contact the MS Society at 1-800-344-4867, or the manufacturer of the medication you are taking.
Source : NMSS
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