Two recent developments in multiple sclerosis research offer renewed hope to patients. Hope that we will soon add new weapons to the arsenal in our war against disability. I, for one, am enthusiastic about the potential of fumigate and alemtuzumab.
Phase II trials for oral fumigate found that the drug significantly reduced disease activity in patients with relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis. Phase III trials are currently underway.
As with most medications, some patients in the trial experienced side effects. It is too soon to celebrate, but an oral therapy for treatment of MS would be a major breakthrough for patients who have difficulty with the injectable medications currently used.
The second breakthrough involves the drug alemtuzumab (Campath), used to treat leukemia. The results of phase II studies show a world of promise in halting the advancement of MS and repairing damaged brain tissue, restoring lost function.
Phase III studies are under way. Side effects and long term safety still need to be addressed, but the hint that we might actually be able to repair already damaged tissue is exciting news indeed!
Clinical trials take a long time, and it is frustrating to wait... and wait... and wait while MS launches new attacks on our already weakened bodies. Patience in these matters is not easy to come by. On the other hand, it is very encouraging to learn of new advances in research. Each new piece of the puzzle, each new drug approved for market, is another step toward keeping MS under control or... dare I say it... a cure.
Each spring, when I register for my local National Multiple Sclerosis Society Walk, I think about my pitch to potential donors. Besides wanting to support me personally, I want them to understand why I'm walking and why I'm asking for their financial donations.
I tell them about the latest scientific breakthroughs and about the hope that gives me. I tell them that by funding research, they are funding the fight for future generations. I tell them that my own future is uncertain and that my disability gains on me every year. I tell them that MS patients have so few options when it comes to fighting off disability. I tell them that I don't ever want to hear one of my kids say, “I have MS.”
Research is the key... our hope that the coming generations will be spared the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis. Hallelujah!
Published On: October 27, 2008