A web-blog (formerly known as Stu's Views and MS News), now published by MS Views and News, a patient advocacy organization. The information on this blog helps to Empower those affected by Multiple Sclerosis globally, with education, information, news and community resources.
~~ Scroll left side of this blog for needed resources. Also, use our 'search by topic' tool, to find specific information.
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.
Jeff Beal was reeling from being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he put on “Cloudburst,” a luminous choral piece by composer Eric Whitacre.
A feeling of calm washed over him.
“I’ve always loved vocal music,” says Beal, the Emmy Award-winning composer behind Netflix’s “House of Cards” and a host of other film and television scores, speaking from his home studio in Agoura Hills. “As a meditative and quiet-your-mind thing, it is extremely powerful and healing.”
Inspired by his experience, Beal mediates on suffering and catharsis in his first original a cappella work, “The Salvage Men,” which has its U.S. premiere Sunday at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Master Chorale as part of the Made in L.A. Concert.
The composition — a joint commission from the Master Chorale and the Eric Whitacre Singers — is one of several works created in the city that Master Chorale Artistic Director Grant Gershon calls “a hotbed for composers who write beautifully and evocatively for the human voice.”
Beal says he experienced numbness down the left side of his body for years, but it wasn’t until he was hobbling around South by Southwest Film Festival in spring 2007 that it struck him something might actually be wrong.
MS Views and News helps to provide information for all affected by MS
Keep up to date with the news and information we provide
Global Markets Direct’s, ‘Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) - Pipeline Review, H2 2015’, provides an overview of the Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)’s therapeutic pipeline.
This report provides comprehensive information on the therapeutic development for Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS), complete with comparative analysis at various stages, therapeutics assessment by drug target, mechanism of action (MoA), route of administration (RoA) and molecule type, along with latest updates, and featured news and press releases. It also reviews key players involved in the therapeutic development for Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) and special features on late-stage and discontinued projects.
Global Markets Direct’s report features investigational drugs from across globe covering over 20 therapy areas and nearly 3,000 indications. The report is built using data and information sourced from Global Markets Direct’s proprietary databases, Company/University websites, SEC filings, investor presentations and featured press releases from company/university sites and industry-specific third party sources, put together by Global Markets Direct’s team. Drug profiles/records featured in the report undergoes periodic updation following a stringent set of processes that ensures that all the profiles are updated with the latest set of information. Additionally, processes including live news & deals tracking, browser based alert-box and clinical trials registries tracking ensure that the most recent developments are captured on a real time basis.
The report enhances decision making capabilities and help to create effective counter strategies to gain competitive advantage. It strengthens R&D pipelines by identifying new targets and MOAs to produce first-in-class and best-in-class products.
Note*: Certain sections in the report may be removed or altered based on the availability and relevance of data for the indicated disease.
MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system and afflicts more than 2.3 million people in the world. Currently without a cure, the disease is characterized by the destruction of the myelin layer within nerve cells. This leads to a wide range of neurological symptoms affecting visual, motor, and sensory capabilities.
Fingolimod is one of the few treatments for MS and is an analogue of a cellular key protein called sphingosine. When added to cells, fingolimod binds sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptors and promote their degradation. Since S1P receptors are important for immune cells’ trafficking to the central nervous system, fingolimod reduces this trafficking and is thus associated with reducing MS-disease relapse and disability progression.
Researchers investigated how fingolimod influences the activation of myeloid cells from the periphery to the central nervous system. (Myeloid cells originate in the bone marrow or spinal cord and include several key cells in our immune system, such as monocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, erythrocytes, dendritic cells, and megakaryocytes or platelets.) The team analyzed how fingolimod interfered with the activation of immune cells in vitro and later performed further studies where administration of fingolimod during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (a disease model of human MS) was used to assess its effects on the activation of splenic, central nervous system infiltrating, and central nervous system resident myeloid cells.
If you or someone you
know is facing the challenges of Caregiving, this is
a resource that may help. A look at understanding the
role of the Caregiver and the important points one needs to address
prior to a discharge from the hospital or at a doctor's visit.
Opexa Therapeutics Announces
Supportive Preclinical Study Results for its Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) Program
Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Opexa
Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPXA), a biopharmaceutical company developing
personalized therapies for autoimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis
(MS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO), today announced results of a preclinical
study, which show that T-cell immunotherapy with attenuated antigen-specific
T-cells suppress the T-cell response to Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) in a dose-dependent
manner, compared to vehicle control, as measured by reduction in both
Aquaporin-4 reactive T-cell (ARTC) proliferation and associated cytokine
activity. The results were statistically significant. In NMO, activated
T-cells (ARTC) mount an attack against Aquaporin-4, the autoantigen in NMO,
leading to secondary demyelination of nerve fibers within the optic nerves and
the spinal cord, resulting in the clinical symptoms of the disease. Opexa’s
therapeutic approach is to suppress or reduce the number of these activated
ARTC in patients with NMO. The results of the preclinical animal study provide
evidence that T-cell immunotherapy reduces the level of activated ARTC in a
murine (mouse) model. “The results of
the bioactivity study are encouraging as they support our proposed mechanism of
action for OPX-212 in NMO,” stated Neil K. Warma, Opexa’s President and Chief
Executive Officer. “NMO is a complex autoimmune disorder and we believe we are
unique in developing a targeted and personalized T-cell immunotherapy for this
disease which currently has no approved treatments. We believe that OPX-212, by
addressing the T-cell component of the disease, may target the root cause of
NMO. There is a significant unmet medical need for patients with NMO and this
animal study is an important step in our development program for the treatment
of patients with this debilitating disease. We are continuing with the
preclinical development activities of OPX-212, including completing the
manufacturing runs and expect to submit the IND to the U.S. FDA and be in a
position to open a Phase 1/2 clinical study in NMO patients in the first half
of 2016, assuming the availability of sufficient resources.” “Opexa’s T-cell
immunotherapy, OPX-212, has an hypothesized mechanism of action to reduce the
number of and/or regulate Aquaporin-4 reactive T-cells, thereby reducing the
frequency of clinical relapses and subsequent progression in disability,”
stated Donald Healey, PhD, Opexa’s Chief Scientific Officer. “Aquaporin-4
reactive T-cells support pathogenic autoantibody production from B-cells in
NMO, but also drive the T-cell mediated cytokine signaling and infiltration of
inflammatory cells that also contribute to disease pathology. OPX-212 aims to
restore immune tolerance in NMO patients by specifically targeting ARTC while
leaving the rest of the patient’s immune system intact.” As part of
Opexa’s preclinical development activities for OPX-212, Opexa conducted a
bioactivity study to demonstrate the ability of T-cell immunotherapy using
attenuated T-cells to suppress a T-cell response to the NMO-associated
autoantigen, AQP4. No animal model of NMO has been described that exhibits both
endogenous T-cell dependent immunity and autoantibody production to AQP4 and
that subsequently leads to the immunopathology and clinical symptoms observed
in human NMO. To study the bio-activity of attenuated T-cells on AQP4 T-cell
immunity, mice were pre-treated with attenuated antigen-specific T-cells and
subsequently primed with AQP4 antigen, following which ARTC and associated
inflammatory cytokine levels were measured. NMO, also known
as neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), is a rare autoimmune
disorder, which is designated as an Orphan Disease by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration. There is currently no cure and there are no approved therapies
for this disease, worldwide. About OPX-212 OPX-212 is
Opexa’s personalized T-cell immunotherapy in development for the treatment of
NMO. It will be specifically tailored to each patient’s immune response to
Aquaporin-4. In NMO, activated T-cells mount an attack against Aquaporin-4, the
autoantigen in NMO, leading to secondary demyelination of nerve fibers within
the optic nerves and the spinal cord, resulting in the clinical symptoms of the
disease. Symptoms of the attack include blindness in one or both eyes followed
within days or weeks by varying degrees of paralysis in the arms and legs.
OPX-212 has an hypothesized mechanism of action to reduce the number and/or
regulate aquaporin-4 reactive T-cells (ARTCs), thereby reducing the frequency
of clinical relapses and subsequent progression in disability. OPX-212 will be
manufactured using ImmPath®, Opexa Therapeutics’ proprietary T-cell
immunotherapy platform technology. About Opexa Opexa is a
biopharmaceutical company developing a personalized immunotherapy with the
potential to treat major illnesses, including multiple sclerosis (MS) as well
as other autoimmune diseases such as neuromyelitis optica (NMO). These
therapies are based on Opexa’s proprietary T-cell technology. The Company’s
leading therapy candidate, Tcelna®, is a personalized T-cell immunotherapy that
is in a Phase IIb clinical development program (the Abili-T trial) for the
treatment of secondary progressive MS. Tcelna consists of myelin-reactive
T-cells, which are expanded ex vivo from the patient’s peripheral blood and
reintroduced into the same patient in an attenuated form via subcutaneous
injections. This process triggers a potent immune response against specific
subsets of autoreactive T-cells known to attack myelin for each individual
patient. For more
information, visit the Opexa Therapeutics website at www.opexatherapeutics.com
or follow company news on Twitter
via @OpexaCEO. Cautionary
Statement Relating to Forward-Looking Information for the Purpose of "Safe
Harbor" Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 Statements
contained in this release, other than statements of historical fact, constitute
"forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "expects,"
"believes," "may," "intends," "potential"
and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.
These forward-looking statements do not constitute guarantees of future
performance. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements, including
without limitation statements regarding the safety, efficacy and projected
development timeline of drug candidates such as Tcelna® and OPX-212 constitute
forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon our
current expectations and involve assumptions that may never materialize or may
prove to be incorrect. Actual results and the timing of events could differ
materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a
result of various risks and uncertainties, which include without limitation our
ability to raise additional capital to continue our development programs, our
ability to successfully develop potential products such as Tcelna and OPX-212,
our ability to obtain, maintain and protect intellectual property rights
(including for Tcelna and OPX-212), as well as other risks associated with the
process of discovering, developing and commercializing drug candidates that are
safe and effective for use as human therapeutics. These and other risks are
described in detail in our SEC filings, including our Annual Report on Form
10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q
for the quarter ended September 30, 2015. All forward-looking statements
contained in this release speak only as of the date on which they were first
made by us, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect
events that occur or circumstances that exist after such date.
Healthcare Marketplace Open Enrollment Begins! It’s
that time of year again when individuals can enroll in a Marketplace health
insurance plan. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
the Affordable Care Act
is working and continuing to increase access to healthcare. Insurance
affordability has increased also, with the eligibility to qualify for lower
premium costs, the expansion of Medicaid coverage and additional plan options
to choose from being key factors in this act.
Important Dates to Remember:
November 1, 2015
- Open Enrollment Began:
Search for insurance plan options and assistance that
may be right for you
If you are already enrolled, you can review your
coverage and other insurance plans to see if another plan better matches
December 15, 2015 - Last day to enroll for coverage beginning on January
January 1, 2016
- Coverage begins for everyone who enrolled by December 15, 2015
MS Views and News helps to provide information for all affected by MS
Keep up to date with the news and information we provide
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological autoimmune disease characterized by the self-reactivity of T cells (key cells of the immune system) that trigger an attack, after cells have infiltrated the brain and spinal cord, against myelin (the substance that insulates nerve cells). With time, inflammation results in damage to myelin that impairs the normal functioning of the brain. A barrier called blood-brain barrier protects the brain from these autoimmune T cells. In multiple sclerosis, however, these cells can overcome the blood-brain barrier, although the mechanisms underlying this phenotype remain unknown.
A team of scientists at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LJI) tackled this question and discovered that autoimmune T cells are conducted into the nervous system by other cells of the immune system, specifically monocytes and macrophages.As Catherine Hedrick, PhD, a professor in the Division of Inflammation Biology and one of the study’s lead authors, noted in a press release, “Our results show that macrophages and monocytes actively participate in the initiation and progression of multiple sclerosis, which has long been considered a primarily T cell driven disease. They exacerbate the severity of the disease by sending out chemical signals that boost inflammation and attract autoimmune T cells to the central nervous system.”
Iftach Shaked, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of LJI professor Klaus Ley, PhD and study first author, added, “Multiple sclerosis affects millions of people worldwide. But what’s really puzzling is that we all have autoimmune T cells that recognize myelin basic protein but normally they do not infiltrate the central nervous system and cause disease.”
It is known that stress can play a role in the worsening of symptoms of inflammatory diseases, but the link between cellular stress and neuroinflammation remains poorly understood. Here, the team discovered that a protein known as Nr4a1 (an established factor responding to inflammatory and stress signals) prevented autoreactive T cells from infiltrating the central nervous system in mouse models of human multiple sclerosis. The team found Nr4a1 protein inhibited the production of norepinephrine. In the absence of Nr4a1, monocytes and macrophages continually produce norepinephrine, leading to the activation of macrophages and triggering a massive flow of T cells into the central nervous system.
Within human blood, a panoply of immune cells play key roles in defending us from foreign pathogens and also from cells that go wrong, such as cancer cells. Monocytes are a class ofwhite blood cells accounting for 5% to 10% of all immune cells, and are key players at destroying viruses and bacteria, but also at acting as intermediaries to alert other immune cells to potential threats. We have two subsets of monocytes, according to the differential expression of a surface molecule called CD16.
CD16 positive cells are a particularly important group of immune cells with high levels inmultiple sclerosis but also in infectious diseases, such as HIV, and inflammatory conditions like sepsis. Notably, however, the mechanism underlying the two subsets of CD16 cells remains unknown, as Dr. Siew Cheng Wong of the Singapore Immunology Network at theAgency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and study lead author, noted in a press release: “Nobody really knows the function of these cells or the consequence of this cellular expansion during disease processes. Are these cells helping to control disease or does the expansion of these cells contribute to the pathogenesis?”
The study of multiple sclerosis (MS) may advance via use of microchip systems because these platforms could serve as mini-brains, complete with neurons, supporting cells known as glia, and connected neuronal circuitry. Unlike a traditional “cell culture,” scientists can arrange cells on chips in an organized fashion, instead of simply growing them in a dish.
Chip “systems have been rapidly progressing over the past decade, enabling the development of unique microplatforms for in vitro human central nervous system (CNS) and related disease models,” the researchers note. Such platforms might, for example, help scientists to understand myelin loss and how to prevent it.
In MS, neurons lose myelin, the fatty substance that wraps around nerve connectors (axons) and helps promote communication within the nervous system. When myelin deteriorates, individuals may experience symptoms such as movement loss, vision problems, coordination loss and sensory problems.
Oral Steroids Not Inferior to Intravenous Steroids in Multiple Sclerosis Relapses
• Steven Deitelzweig, MD, SFHM, William Carter, MD, David Kitchell, MD, Alan Hathcock, MD, Jeremiah Newsom, MD, Frank Wharton, MD; Ochsner Health System, New Orleans
Background: When relapses of multiple sclerosis occur, studies have shown that intravenous steroids are the treatment of choice. Prior Cochrane meta-analyses have not found any significant difference between intravenous and oral treatments; however, the studies all have had limitations. This study was designed to provide a statistically significant answer.
Study design: Randomized, double-blinded, noninferiority trial.
Setting: Thirteen multiple sclerosis centers in France.
Synopsis: Patients were selected if they had had a relapse within the previous 15 days; the mean time was seven days. One hundred patients were in the oral steroid group, and 99 were in the intravenous steroid group. Each group received 1 g of methylprednisolone daily for three days. In addition, each group received saline infusions or placebo capsules to keep the study blind.
After 28 days, 81% of the oral group and 80% of the intravenous group had improvements of their symptoms. Side effects from the medications were similar as well.
The study was limited by the fixed dosing (1 g daily) that was not bioequivalent. Also, MRIs, although not always used in relapses, could have added more objective information, as everyone was followed clinically using the Kurtzke Functional System Scale.