More Medical Breakthroughs For Multiple Sclerosis
As I was reading my latest issue of AARP magazine I read with great interest an article titled, “5 Medical Breakthroughs That Could Save Your Life.”
I always find it fascinating reading about new discoveries, impressed by the amount of money, brainpower and dedication it takes to discover a way to make a difference in the health of a patient.
The other day I read an article about an experimental drug, Masitinib, which is being developed for several neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s, ALS, stroke and progressive MS.
This drug shows great promise in offering neuroprotective benefits, and for people with Multiple Sclerosis the benefits include slowing down the disease progression and eventually curing MS.
Yes, curing it.
AB Science, who is developing the drug, is currently engaged in Phase III clinical trials for MS that you can read more about here. They will be testing this therapy for 96 weeks on people with progressive forms of MS.
Many times, drugs that are initially prescribed for one illness are later found to be useful in another. Neurontin (Gabapentin) was originally developed for epilepsy, but now it’s being prescribed for a variety of issues including neuropathic pain, restless leg syndrome, anxiety, insomnia and bipolar disorder.
As I leafed through the AARP article, I read with great interest about a new “immune boosting ‘vaccine’ that could revolutionize cancer treatment.” It told the story of a man, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, who after chemotherapy treatment was recommended to begin using this vaccine. He began to feel better, and regained enough energy to withstand going shopping with his daughter for a wedding gown!
Aside from the thrilling news that there may be a way to treat the most insidious of cancers, something else in the article caught my eye:
“..a new clinical trial testing immunotherapy, in which patient’s immune cells are used to attack the cancer. The two-pronged treatment works like a vaccine in getting the body to identify and attack destructive cells.” Vincent J. Picozzi Jr., a pancreatic cancer specialist with Virginia Mason Hospital and Seattle Medical .
I am not a scientist or a medical professional, but some of those words hung in the air – immunotherapy, immune cells, attack of cells – and I thought perhaps someday this might also be used for MS.
Then I remembered reading about a preliminary study in Italy about a vaccine used to prevent tuberculosis that is now being studied for MS. The findings, published in Neurology, concerns Bacille Calmette-Guering (BCG) that contains a weakened bacterium that induces an immune response that may dampen inflammatory factors.
In the study, those who received the vaccine showed fewer lesions on their MRI. You can read more about the study here.
These latest developments are just the tip of the iceberg of studies aimed to helping people living with MS. It is my hope that someday I will wake up to read the headline:
A Cure For Multiple Sclerosis Has Been Found!
Then I will smile, close my laptop and retire.
How well do people around you understand MS?