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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Synopsis of presentation by Jack Burks, MD on “Emerging MS Therapies”

Program Date: November 8, 2014

Emerging MS Therapies plus Lemtrada- FDA approval Update

Dr Burks reviewed over 30 potential new therapies which are in the process of being tested for people with MS. They included:
      Stem cell research for MS reveals considerable interest and preliminary results that demonstrate the ability to generate stem cells from bone marrow, fat tissue and skin tissue that have the potential to help restore damaged MS brain, including myelin. Clinicals trials are ongoing. However, we must await the results of these trials and FDA approval before commercial use. Foreign “Stem cell cures for MS” Centers are not recommended because of lack of knowledge, acceptable clinical trial data, and regulations to assure safety and efficacy.
       Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab) has been recently FDA approved for relapsing forms of MS. Dr Burks reviewed the superior efficacy data compared to a FDA approved Interferon, the convenience of needing only 5 IV treatments (on consecutive days) in the first year and the caution of adverse events that necessitate close monitoring.

        Plegridy has also been recently approved by the FDA for relapsing MS. It is effective and safe, while only requiring a subcutaneous injection once every two weeks. The side effects are similar to other interferons given subcutaneously.

       Many other treatments are being tested. Most are aimed at reducing the MS damage in the Central Nervous System (CNS).Examples include:
1.      Monoclonal antibodies that target “B lymphocytes”, instead of the “T lymphocytes”. This approach attacks another part of the immune system that may damage the CNS.
2.      Vaccine type medications
3.      Medications that are already FDA approved for relapsing MS are now being tested in non-relapsing progressive forms of MS (SPMS and PPMS)
4.      Estrogen type hormone therapy for women to decrease brain damage
5.      Monoclonal antibodies that target newly recognized “T lymphocytes” which initiate inflammation.
6.       Medications similar to currently approved MS therapies, but which may have fewer side effects
7.      Medications that may reduce degeneration of brain cells, not just inflammation
8.      Medications that have been used in other diseases are being “repurposed” to treat MS.
9.      Medications to increase myelin that has been damaged
10.  Vitamin D is being studied to better determine its potential usefulness in MS
11.  A low salt diet is another method to reduce inflammation in MS
12.  Re-equilibrating the bacteria in the intestines is another novel approach to MS therapy that is just now beginning to be explored (Microbiomes)

In summary, many new potential treatments are becoming available and more are in the early stages of testing. Many of these new medications are targeting the progressive forms of MS, as well as relapsing MS.

The future for MS therapy has never looked brighter.
To watch this presentation, click here

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