FRONT PAGE AMPYRA AUBAGIO AVONEX BETASERON COPAXONE EXTAVIA
Stan's Angels MS News Channel on YouTube GILENYA NOVANTRONE REBIF RITUXAN TECFIDERA TYSABRI
 Daily News for Neuros, Nurses & Savvy MSers: 208,152 Viewers, 8,368 Stories & Studies
Click Here For My Videos, Advice, Tips, Studies and Trials.
Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Professor

Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center

Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center
Click here to read my columns
Brian R. Apatoff, MD, PhD
Multiple Sclerosis Institute
Center for Neurological Disorders

Associate Professor Neurology and Neuroscience,

Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Clinical Attending in Neurology,
New York-Presbyterian Hospital
CLICK ON THE RED BUTTON BELOW
You'll get FREE Breaking News Alerts on new MS treatments as they are approved
MS NEWS ARCHIVES: by week

HERE'S A FEW OF OUR 6000+ Facebook & MySpace FRIENDS
Timothy L. Vollmer M.D.
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center
and
Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center


Click to view 1280 MS Walk photos!

"MS Can Not
Rob You of Joy"
"I'm an M.D....my Mom has MS and we have a message for everyone."
- Jennifer Hartmark-Hill MD
Beverly Dean

"I've had MS for 2 years...this is the most important advice you'll ever hear."
"This is how I give myself a painless injection."
Heather Johnson

"A helpful tip for newly diagnosed MS patients."
"Important advice on choosing MS medication "
Joyce Moore


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Sunday

 

(RITUXIMAB) Cancer Drug Works Against MS in Early Trial

Cancer Drug Works Against MS in Early Trial

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) --

A drug originally designed to combat cancer that is now being used to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus might also work against a common form of multiple sclerosis.

In new research published in the Feb. 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that one treatment with rituximab significantly reduced the number of inflammatory lesions in the brains of people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), and almost halved the incidence of relapse for up to 48 weeks.

"The immediate results of this study should give great hope to all of us in the field and to our patients," said study author Dr. Stephen Hauser, chairman of the department of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. "An easily-administered, relatively safe IV therapy might have a very important, profound effect on the relapsing-remitting phase of MS."

However, Hauser was quick to caution, "these results are preliminary and should not be translated into a belief that a new proven therapy has been identified." He said that larger, longer studies need to be done to fully assess the drug's safety and efficacy in people with MS.

"We are cautiously optimistic," Dr. John Richert, executive vice president of research and clinical programs for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said of the findings. "It's hard to imagine results any better than this, but right now, we don't have any long-term data on safety or efficacy."

MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. Instead of targeting foreign invaders, such as bacteria, the body mistakenly attacks the protective covering of nerve cells called myelin.

Most research has focused on the T-cell side of the immune system, but other studies began to suggest that maybe T-cells weren't the major players in MS after all, and that perhaps B-cells might play a role. Rituximab, sold under the brand name Rituxan, targets and depletes a type of B-cell known as CD20+.

Hauser's study included 104 people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Someone with this type of MS will have disease flare-ups but will also have periods of remission when they don't have symptoms.

The volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either 1,000 milligrams of intravenous rituximab or a placebo. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was conducted at 12, 16, 20 and 24 weeks to assess the number of inflammatory lesions -- a hallmark of MS -- present in the brain.

The number of lesions was reduced in people taking rituximab, and the number of people who had no new lesions was significantly less in those taking rituximab than in those taking a placebo, both during the study and six months later.

The rate of relapse was also significantly reduced for those on rituximab. At the end of the 48-week study period, 20.3 percent of those on rituximab had experienced a relapse versus 40 percent of those on placebo.

What both Hauser and Richert found most exciting was the speed at which rituximab worked and the duration of the benefit, which continued long after the treatment had been administered.

"Beneficial effects were seen by four weeks," said Richert. "Among the reasons why these data are so exciting is that the effects persist after 48 weeks after one course of rituximab."

People taking rituximab did experience more side effects, though most of them were minor. "The big question is whether removal of B-cells will impact the immune system later," said Hauser.

Both Hauser and Richert said this study has also provided new information about the MS disease process, and it will likely open up additional avenues of MS research.

More information

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society details the current treatments for the disease.

SOURCES: Stephen Hauser, M.D., Robert A. Fishman distinguished professor of neurology, and chairman, department of neurology, University of California, San Francisco; John Richert, M.D., executive vice president, research and clinical programs, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York City; Feb. 14, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine

Labels:


 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
02/12/08 EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL: Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008, at 10 a.m. Pacific time to coincide with publication in the journal Nature


STANFORD RESEARCHERS FIND PROTEIN TARGETS FOR POTENTIAL TREATMENT OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

STANFORD, Calif. -

Multiple sclerosis is not a single condition, but an ebbing and flowing of stages affecting the body's central nervous system. Recognizing that pattern, researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified therapy targets that could lead to personalized treatments for patients at each phase of the illness.
Essentially, the team cataloged all of the brain-tissue proteins that they found were distinct to three discrete stages of multiple sclerosis 

"This is a gold mine," said Lawrence Steinman, MD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences. "Knowing what proteins are most important at a discrete stage of the multiple sclerosis process is the first step toward being able to 'personalize' treatment." 

Steinman, whose team worked with researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center, is one of two senior authors of the article that will be published in the Feb. 17 issue of the journal Nature. In the study, the team found many unexpected proteins involved in the disease progression. When they tested drugs that block two of these proteins in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, the mice improved dramatically. "If our hypothesis is correct, the findings can be directly applied to patients," said May Han, MD, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford and co-first author of the paper. She emphasized that researchers are still very early in the process of being able to tailor drug therapies for humans. In multiple sclerosis, the immune system launches an attack against the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells, causing them to misfire. The resulting variety of neurological disorders affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide, according to the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. When Han arrived to work in Steinman's lab, she suggested studying the amazing repository of multiple sclerosis brain samples still being stored in the lab freezer. The samples had come from Cedric Raine, MD, professor of pathology and of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who had collaborated six years ago with Steinman. Raine had obtained the samples from autopsies of patients with various stages of multiple sclerosis, and he had supplied a detailed analysis of the abnormalities. Han proposed a novel idea: to use these carefully characterized slices to identify the protein changes between three major types of multiple sclerosis lesions seen upon autopsy - plaques from the acute stage (recent inflammation and damage to myelin), the chronic-active stage (long-term myelin damage and areas of recent inflammation) and the chronic-silent stage (no current inflammation). Steinman recalled telling Han that it was a great idea, but that his lab didn't do proteomics, which is the large-scale study of protein structure and function. But Han had a secret weapon: Her brother, David Han, PhD, directs a proteomics analysis facility at the University of Connecticut Health Center. He is the other senior author of the paper. They identified more than 1,000 different proteins in each stage, creating the largest catalog of multiple sclerosis brain lesions to date. The enormous list of proteins became a bottleneck for the researchers. They used a computer program to identify which proteins are only present in each stage and came up with hundreds of unique proteins for each stage. They picked two of the proteins found in the chronic-active phase for further exploration: tissue factor, which is involved in the coagulation of blood, and protein C inhibitor, which blocks the anticoagulant protein C. They chose these proteins for several reasons, including the fact that there are FDA-approved drugs that block those proteins, which would allow the researchers to tease apart what was happening. Also, said Steinman, it was fascinating to explore these drugs, usually used for people with blood clots or hemorrhaging, in the completely different context of a role in a nervous system disorder. Mice with the symptoms of multiple sclerosis showed improvement in the severity of their disease after being given drugs that block either tissue factor or protein C inhibitor. But treating a mouse is a far cry from helping humans. "One of the stumbling blocks on this path to personalized medicine is that our samples came from multiple sclerosis brains," said Steinman. "Ordinarily, one doesn't stick a needle into a multiple sclerosis brain." He said there are some intriguing leads from other publications that suggest some of the proteins they found could be detected in cerebrospinal fluid. "If a person had in their spinal fluid, using our findings as an example, an elevated level of protein C inhibitor, then a doctor could come into the room and say, 'We have a medicine that will fit you perfectly,'" Steinman said. This work was funded by the National Institute of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Others from Stanford who contributed to this study are: graduate student Jordan Price; postdoctoral scholar Shalina Ousman, PhD; William Robinson, MD, PhD, assistant professor of immunology and rheumatology, and Raymond Sobel, MD, professor of pathology. Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.





Go to Newer News Go to Older News