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Tuesday

 

What's new for "Multiple Sclerosis" in PubMed

Cognitive reserve protects against cognitive dysfunction in multiple sclerosis. - Cognitive reserve theory helps to explain the neuropsychological expression of neurologic disease (e.g., Alzheimer's disease; Stern, 2006). -J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2009 Mar 27:1-14. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

A Comparative Evaluation of the Response to Peroxynitrite by a Brain Endothelial Cell Line and Control of the Effects by Drug Targeting. - The potent oxidant peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)) is formed after the combination of nitric oxide with superoxide and has been closely associated with the pathology of inflammatory disease. - Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2009 Mar 28. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Musical identity of patients with multiple sclerosis. - We observed that recall of musical history makes MS patients get better perception both of their feelings and body awareness, as well as provide them with an alternative way to express themselves, activate and contextualize affective memories, and achieving a sense of life continuity in spite of the disease. - Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2009 Mar;67(1):46-9. in PubMed

Clinically Observed Chickenpox and the Risk of Childhood-onset Multiple Sclerosis. - The authors concluded that clinically observed chickenpox was associated with a lower risk of childhood-onset MS in a French population. - Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Mar 27. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Epilepsy and multiple sclerosis: Increased risk among progressive forms. - Epilepsy was frequent among our MS patients (6.55%). Progressive MS forms were associated with higher incidence of epilepsy (p=0.021). - Epilepsy Res. 2009 Mar 27. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Symptom Cluster as a Predictor of Physical Activity in Multiple Sclerosis: Preliminary Evidence. - Such findings provide preliminary support to the importance of considering symptom clusters as a meaningful correlate of physical activity behavior in persons with MS. - J Pain Symptom Manage. 2009 Mar 27. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Immunomodulation by chronobiologically-based glucocorticoids treatment for multiple sclerosis relapses. - This study compares the effects of daytime versus nighttime intravenous glucocorticoid treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses for several immune indicators. - J Neuroimmunol. 2009 Mar 27. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Myelin regulates immune cell adhesion and motility. - We conclude that NgR1 alters the motility of immune cells exposed to myelin and may thus impact their behaviour within the CNS, particularly under conditions when immune cell activation is heightened. - Exp Neurol. 2009 Mar 26. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Antisaccade performance in patients with multiple sclerosis. -The sensitivity of this task in dissociating function in MS, as well as clear correlation with a key measure of cognition, suggests that eye movements, may provide a surrogate measure of cognitive function in MS, with the potential to sensitively assess disease severity and progression. - Cortex. 2009 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Pelvic floor training for lower urinary tract dysfunction in MS. - The aim of this study was to determine if pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) improves lower urinary tract function in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The authors found that a nine-week PFMT programme improved the function of the PFM, reduced the symptoms associated with lower urinary tract dysfunction and increased the quality of life in people with MS. - Nurs Times. 2009 Feb 24-Mar 2;105(7):45-7. in PubMed

 

Genzyme and Bayer HealthCare Enter New Strategic Agreement

Genzyme Assumes Primary Responsibility for the Development and Commercialization of Alemtuzumab for Multiple Sclerosis

Acquires Bayer’s Hematologic Oncology Portfolio

First of Two Alemtuzumab MS Phase 3 Trials Completes Enrollment
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Genzyme Corporation (Nasdaq: GENZ) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the worldwide rights to Campath® (alemtuzumab) from Bayer HealthCare, giving Genzyme primary responsibility for the development and commercialization of this potential break-though treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). Bayer will continue to fund a portion of alemtuzumab’s development in MS and will retain an option to co-promote the product in MS upon approval. In addition, Genzyme will assume sole responsibility for worldwide sales and marketing for Campath in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), where it is indicated for use as a single agent in first-line and previously-treated patients with this disease. Bayer will retain the right to develop and commercialize alemtuzumab in solid organ transplant indications.
The agreement further expands Genzyme’s hematologic oncology commercial presence beyond Campath through the addition of Fludara® (fludarabine) and Leukine® (sargramostim), and provides an opportunity to integrate members of Bayer’s experienced commercial team for all three drugs into Genzyme’s global operations. Genzyme will acquire a new, Seattle-area Leukine manufacturing facility for $75 to $100 million and hire the plant’s operating personnel following FDA plant approval, which is expected in 2010.
The transaction is accretive and already reflected in Genzyme’s 2009 revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share guidance. The deal is structured as an earn-out arrangement. Bayer will receive payments based on revenues (subject to an aggregate cap) and potential milestone payments if cumulative revenue targets are achieved. There are no upfront payments for the rights of these three drugs. The transaction would provide Genzyme approximately $185 million in oncology revenue in 2009 and up to $700 million in revenue over the next three years. Genzyme’s Oncology segment revenues in 2008 were $117 million. Today’s announcement supports the company’s goal of 20 percent compound average non-GAAP earnings growth from 2006 to 2011.................full story in BusinessWire

 

StandoutStocks.com: "Stocks that Standout" picks for today are: ACOR, ERII, GENZ, PGOG, PGYC, SCII

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACOR) announced today that the Company received a refuse to file letter from the U.S.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding its New Drug Application (NDA) for Fampridine-SR, a novel therapy being developed to improve walking ability in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The FDA has raised what it termed "format issues" regarding the eCTD (electronic) submission, requesting that some of the data in the NDA be reformatted, as well as requesting that some additional supporting information be included in the filing. The FDA has not requested or recommended additional clinical or other studies.

"We are surprised by this development," stated Ron Cohen, M.D., President and CEO of Acorda Therapeutics, "We plan to address the issues raised in this letter with FDA expeditiously as we believe Fampridine-SR is potentially an important, first in class treatment option for people suffering with MS." The Company plans to request a meeting with FDA as soon as possible to discuss its comments on the NDA filing.

Conference Call and Audiocast corda will host a conference call Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 8:30 a.m.
Story in TMCnet

 

FDA SETBACK FOR NEW ORAL DRUG: AMPYRA! As with most actions, there is a reaction elsewhere. Biogen Idec (TYSABRI) shares are up!

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACOR) is taking it right on the chin this morning. The company announced that it has received a “refuse to file letter” from the FDA regarding its New Drug Application for AMPRYA (Fampridine-SR). Unfortunately, this is supposed to be for a novel therapy being developed to improve walking ability in people with multiple sclerosis.

The FDA raised “format issues” regarding the electronic submission, and it also requested that some of the data in the application be reformatted and that some additional supporting information be included in the filing. The good news is that the FDA did not request or recommend additional clinical or other studies.

Acorda’s CEO said it plans to address the issues raised in the FDA letter. He also noted that the company believes Fampridine-SR “is potentially an important, first in class treatment option for people suffering with MS.”

The company plans to request a meeting with FDA as soon as possible to discuss its comments on the NDA filing.

As with most actions, there is a reaction elsewhere. Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) is the TYSABRI play for MS, and its shares are up by 0.8% at $52.95 this morning. These treatments may be a bit different in the fight against MS, and TYSABRI has had its own PML issues that has arguably kept the drug from being more widely used.

Acorda was expected to see total company revenues of about $60 million in 2009 and about $137 million in 2010. It is a safe bet that this filing acceptance may push back at least some of the expected revenue. The company had revenue of $47.8 million in 2008 and $39.4 million in 2007. Shares are down 18% at $20.50 in early trading on almost 4-times volume. Its 52-week trading range is $14.42 to $35.65..........................story in 24/7 Wall St.

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Campath as a multiple sclerosis drug...Genzyme signs drug rights deal with Bayer

Biotechnology company Genzyme Corp. said Tuesday it is buying commercialization rights to Bayer's cancer drug Campath and two other treatments in a deal potentially worth more than $1.25 billion over the next decade.

Under the deal, Genzyme (nasdaq: GENZ - news - people) will have primary responsibility for the development and sales of Campath as a multiple sclerosis drug, for which it its being studied. Bayer (nyse: BAY- news - people) will continue to fund a portion of the drug's development and retains co-promotion rights.

If approved as a multiple sclerosis drug, Bayer will receive payments of up to $1.25 billion contingent on annual revenue from Campath. The deal includes a ten-year time cap on payments. Bayer could also receive future milestone payments on worldwide sales beginning in 2021 if Genzyme does not exercise a buyout option in 2020 for up to $900 million.

Prior to the deal, Genzyme received two-thirds of Campath net profits on U.S. sales, as well as royalties on foreign sales from Bayer. Genzyme acquired Campath when it bought Ilex Oncology in 2004. Bayer obtained marketing and distribution rights to the drug in 2006.

Also under the deal, Genzyme will pay Bayer up to $500 million over the next eight years for cancer drugs Fludara, Leukine and Campath/MabCampath. Additionally, Genzyme will acquire a Seattle-area Leukine manufacturing facility for $75 million to $100 million.

The deal is expected to close during the second quarter.

Genzyme said the deal would give the company about $185 million in oncology revenue in 2009 and up to $700 million in revenue over the next three years. The deal also supports the company's goal of 20 percent compound earnings growth through 2011.
Story in Forbes

Monday

 

Montel Williams' Life with Multiple Sclerosis


Overcoming Pain and DepressionEvery hour, someone in the world is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a life-threatening neurological disease. Ten years ago, Emmy-winning talk show host Montel Williams was one of these people.

At first, this former Naval intelligence officer chose to hide his pain, but when a tabloid newspaper threatened to print his story, he decided to go public with his health crisis. Montel spoke about his diagnosis on his talk show, but few people knew how much he was suffering.

On set, Montel conducted interviews with poise. Then, during commercial breaks, he says he'd go backstage, sit down and cry because of the pain. "[I would] let it go, refocus, come back out and sit down, and do another interview with a person," he says. "I was doing that every day."...........full story on Oprah.com

 

Multiple sclerosis a family affair for Posners

For the Posners of Saugus, Calif., the fight to beat multiple sclerosis is a family affair.

Karla Posner, 47, and one of her four children, Samantha, 17, both have MS, as it's more commonly known, a potentially crippling disease that attacks the central nervous system causing numbness and pain, but can be controlled with medication. Posner's older sister and one of her sisters-in-law also battle MS.

"I say, ‘I may have MS, but MS doesn't have me,'" Karla said.

That's why the Posners are taking the battle to the Rose Bowl Sunday, April 19, when they'll join an estimated 5,000-6,000 other Southern Californians also determined to defeat MS by helping to raise funds to find a cure.

The "Walk MS" event is just one of many fundraisers organized around the country this spring by the nonprofit National Multiple Sclerosis Society......full story in The Signal Santa Clarita Valley

 

Multiple sclerosis may lead to lower cancer risk

LONDON (Reuters) - People with multiple sclerosis may have a lower risk of cancer, possibly because of lifestyle changes they make after they are diagnosed with the neurological condition, researchers said on Monday.

An analysis of the medical records of more than 20,000 people with multiple sclerosis showed that patients had a 10 percent lower risk of cancer over 35 years than people without MS.

"We speculate that the lower risk for cancer among people with MS could be a result of lifestyle changes or treatment following diagnosis," Shahram Bahmanyar of Sweden's Karolinksa Institute, who led the study, said in a statement.

Bahmanyar and colleagues, who published their findings in the journal Neurology, compared the records of the men and women with MS with those of more than 200,000 people without the disease over 35 years.

The findings suggested MS patients are more likely to be diagnosed with certain cancers such as brain or bladder tumors, which the researchers said may happen because these patients are being examined more often than other people.

"The increase in brain tumor diagnoses may be due to brain inflammation, but this finding may not reflect a real increase in cancer risk, as there is some evidence that more frequent neurological investigations in these patients mean that brain tumors are more likely to be found sooner," Bahmanyar said.....full story in Reuters

Saturday

 

What's new for "Multiple Sclerosis" in PubMed

Protein expression profiles in pediatric multiple sclerosis: potential biomarkers. - The diagnosis of pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS) is challenging due to its low frequency and the overlap with other acquired childhood demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system. - Mult Scler. 2009 Apr;15(4):455-64. in PubMed

Anti-{alpha}-glucose-based glycan IgM antibodies predict relapse activity in multiple sclerosis after the first neurological event. - Mult Scler. 2009 Apr;15(4):422-30. in PubMed

Muscle rupture caused by exacerbated spasticity in a patient with multiple sclerosis. - We report a case of muscle rupture caused by acute exacerbation of spasticity in a patient with primary chronic progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). - J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:115-8. in PubMed

Diagnostic algorithm for the differentiation of leukodystrophies in early MS. - J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:123-6. in PubMed

Pediatric multiple sclerosis: the experience of the German Centre for Multiple Sclerosis in Childhood and Adolescence. - Most patients received immunomodulative treatment with interferon-beta or glatiramer acetate and, in severe cases, natalizumab. However, adequate treatment guidelines for this age group are still lacking. - J neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:119-22. in PubMed

What can we learn from failed clinical trials in multiple sclerosis? - Failed trials can provide valuable information how studies and outcome measures should be designed for future trials. So it is important that negative trials are published and available for the MS community. - J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:97-101. in PubMed

Recent clinical trials and future therapies. - Here we describe examples of monoclonal antibodies, a novel immunosuppressant and interesting neuroprotective strategies. -J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:93-6. in PubMed

Compliance, adherence, and the treatment of multiple sclerosis. - J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:87-92. in PubMed

Complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis. - Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is often used by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) but has been disregarded in research until lately. Various confounding factors on CAM utilisation exist, though have hardly been investigated. - J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:82-6. in PubMed

Clinical trials in multiple sclerosis: current and future requirements - potential pitfalls. - J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:66-8. in PubMed

alpha4-Integrin antagonism with natalizumab: effects and adverse effects. - J neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:58-65. in PubMed

Neuroprotection and neuroregeneration in multiple sclerosis. - J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:77-81. in PubMed

Monitoring of multiple sclerosis immunotherapy: from single candidates to biomarker networks. - Applying microarray technology to identify new diagnostic and prognostic markers in peripheral blood cells (PBC) after therapeutic intervention opens great perspectives regarding patient subclassification. - J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:48-57. in PubMed

National MS registries. -This review gives an overview of national registries that are currently in use for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The large-scale registries described herein include the Danish MS Registry, the Norwegian MS Registry, the Swedish MS Registry, the Italian MS Database Network, the North-American NARCOMS Registry, and the German MS Registry. These MS registries are extremely helpful for studying disease characteristics in large populations and monitoring the long-term outcome of disease-modifying therapies. Furthermore, an almost complete ascertainment of cases provides information on the provision of treatments, services and supplies within a given area that may be used to compare different levels of health care within and between these regions. In the long-term, MS registries monitor the health care situation of MS patients over time including the implementation of guidelines relating to care and treatment, measure the improvements that have taken place, and reveal shortages and/or misalignment in health care services. The information gathered herein is not only useful for the long-term follow-up of the individual patient, but also for society as a whole by increasing understanding of and knowledge about MS and allowing national authorities and relevant parties to make informed and relevant decisions about MS. - J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255 Suppl 6:102-8. in PubMed

 

'Amazing Race's' Phil Keoghan sets out to bike the USA

The reality show host launches his own adventure: a 40-day bicycle trek from Santa Monica to New York City to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Phil Keoghan, he of the arched eyebrow and host of Emmy Award-winning "The Amazing Race" is a self-acknowledged creature of extremes. For his day job, the 41-year-old New Zealand native logs more than 400,000 air miles per year, mostly as he crisscrosses the globe with the CBS show's $1-million prize and adventure-hungry contestants. But that's nothing really. He's also putted his way -- some 12,000 golf strokes and 107 miles in all -- across Scotland, set a world record for bungee jumping, eaten a fancy meal atop an erupting volcano and earned a reindeer-racing license in Finland.

Starting today, he's going to be facing another extreme: a 5,000-calorie-per-day diet featuring an afternoon treat he calls a "Philiminator" Shake (a special energy concoction combining whey protein, soy milk, flax seed and peanut butter). He's going to need every ounce to fuel a 40-day, 3,500-mile bicycle ride across America that kicks off today from Santa Monica and, he hopes, will end in New York City by early May, days before the season finale of "The Amazing Race."

The bike ride, during which he will cycle up to 100 miles per day, has two major purposes: to promote the reality show and help raise money and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Fans of the show are invited to ride along with him for some of the journey. (See http://www.philridesacrossamerica.com/ for details.)....full story in The Los Angeles Times


 

If you have multiple sclerosis, Bill Brayer offers a hand

EDMONDS -- Bill Brayer began experiencing symptoms of multiple sclerosis 57 years ago. His illness meant that the Edmonds man was given a medical discharge from the United States Navy in 1954. It wasn't until 1987, however, that Brayer, now 76, was officially diagnosed with the condition, in which the immune system attacks the sheath that covers the nerves, sometimes leaving patients unable to walk or speak.

During the 1990s, Brayer began to feel as though there wasn't enough help for people suffering with MS. He decided to form a group: Multiple Sclerosis Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization that helps to support those with MS through services such as a support group and financial aid when available."It started out when I wanted to do more for people with MS," Brayer said.

When a member of the support group died and her parents approached Brayer to ask if he could find someone who could benefit from their daughter's medical equipment, he decided to open the Donor Closet, an all-­volunteer program that recycles durable medical equipment. "I took all her equipment and put it in my garage," Brayer said.

Brayer sent out an e-mail and within two to three hours he had responses from people who were interested in taking it off his hands. He thought the program wouldn't last very long. That was nine years ago......full story in HeraldNet (Everett Washington)

 

Bayer Offers New Betaferon Titration Pack

Berlin, March 27, 2009 - Bayer will launch a titration pack for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) that is specially designed to make it easier for them to start Betaferon® (interferon beta-1b) therapy. From now on, the titration pack will be available in Germany. More European countries will follow in 2009. The four-week pack facilitates a gradual increase in dose as recommended for patients new on Betaferon®....full report in PharmaLive

Friday

 

Stopping Autoimmunity Before It Strikes

Current research describes a new method to track the development of autoimmune diseases before the onset of symptoms. The related report by Zangani et al, "Tracking early autoimmune disease by bioluminescent imaging of NF-κB activation reveals pathology in multiple organ systems," appears in the April 2009 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are caused when the immune system attacks the body's own cells. Normally, immune cells are prevented from attacking normal cells; however, in patients with autoimmune disease, this "tolerance" is lost. The immediate causes of autoimmune diseases remain unknown, partially due to the inability to detect disease before the onset of symptoms. Early detection of autoimmune disease is critical for assessing new treatments....full article in Medical News Today

 

What's new for "Multiple Sclerosis" in PubMed

A randomised controlled trial of lay-led self-management for people with multiple sclerosis. - To determine the impact of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Course (CDSMC) on people with multiple sclerosis (MS). - Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Mar 23. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Immunomodulatory effects of Vitamin D in multiple sclerosis. - Although Vitamin D is best known as a modulator of calcium homeostasis, it also has immune modulating potential. A protective effect of Vitamin D on multiple sclerosis is supported by the reduced risk associated with sun exposure and use of Vitamin D supplements. - Brain. 2009 Mar 24. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

[Assessment of decision-making capacity in primary and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.] - The current study assessed the decision-making capacity of patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) compared to healthy control subjects. - Neurologia. 2009 Mar;24(2):94-7. in PubMed

Investigation of quantitative magnetisation transfer parameters of lesions and normal appearing white matter in multiple sclerosis. - The aim of this study was to use quantitative magnetisation transfer (MT) imaging to assess the different pathological substrates of tissue damage in multiple sclerosis (MS) and examine whether the MT parameters may be used to explain the disability in relapsing remitting (RR) MS. - NMR Biomed. 2009 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Thursday

 

Living with Multiple Sclerosis is not an option; it’s a way of life

It is reported that over 2,750,000 people have MS and there are over 55,000 living in the Northwest alone, the highest incident rate anywhere......story in the Edmonds Beacon

 

Medical marijuana bill moves forward in Illinois Senate

Compassionate cannabis? It's being considered.

The national debate over legalizing marijuana for medical use came to the forefront in Illinois yesterday, as state senators advanced a bill on the issue.

Senate Bill 1381, sponsored by Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), and co-sponsored by Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) and Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg (D-Evanston), would create the "Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program," allowing a person diagnosed by a doctor with a "debilitating medical condition" to legally possess marijuana.

The person could be issued an identification card by the Department of Public Health that would allow possession of no more than seven dried cannabis plants or two ounces of dried cannabis, according to the bill.

The legislation was approved by the Senate's Public Health Committee yesterday. Toby Trimmer, director of communications for Senate President John J. Cullerton says the measure passed 6-2. It will be debated by the full Senate by the end of next week.

"Attorney General Holder's recent statements should provide those lawmakers who are on the fence with increased comfort level that is the direction where the country is heading inevitably," he says.

In Illinois, the bill must be approved by the House and the Senate before going to the governor for signature and becoming law......full story in Chi*Town Daily News

 

The comeback coach

MS-stricken Pettengill determined in diamond return
Kris Pettengill is coaching more than softball at Port Huron High. She also is teaching her players and students about life.

Pettengill, a U.S. government and current issues teacher, is suffering from multiple sclerosis and adult asthma. The MS, which was diagnosed about four years ago, kept her from coaching softball a year ago, in what would have been her second year with the varsity.

“I'm a human being, and I waited a long time to have this opportunity (to coach varsity),” said Pettengill, who coached nearly 15 years at the freshman and junior varsity levels at Port Huron High. “Last year was a challenge, and I'm very determined to come back this year.”...full story in The Times Herald


 

Fast Forward and Merck Join on MS Research

Fast Forward is the branch of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society that seeks to identify and financially support research into new drugs for multiple sclerosis.

The idea behind Fast Forward is to find promising researchers and provide them with the funding to take their research to the next step. Merck (specifically, EMD Serono - a Merck affiliate) has, in partnership with Fast Forward, agreed to fund a $19 million to support early-stage clinical trials of potential new MS drugs.

This non-profit - corporate partnership arrangement is possibly one of the fastest ways to bring funding to researchers in the early stage of developing new multiple sclerosis treatments. Stay tuned to the announcements about which research projects will be funded........report in About.com: Multiple Sclerosis

 

Biogen Tries to Quell Fears About MS Drug Rivals

Biogen Idec(BIIB Quote - Cramer on BIIB - Stock Picks) gathered investors together Wednesday to pitch the company's research pipeline and stifle concerns that its leading position in the multiple sclerosis treatment market was vulnerable to competition.....full report in TheStreet.com

 

Mustache March Rides Again

KJEE's Spencer and Adam Sport the 'Stache to Fight MS
For the first time in a long time, our friends over at KJEE are getting serious — well, sort of. Since the start of the month, a whole team of the station’s (gender inclined) supporters has been collecting cash and rockin’ the ‘stache in honor of Mustache March, the crew’s now-annual fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Under the guidance of one of the station’s directors, deejays like Dave Hanacek and the Morning Show’s Spencer and Adam have even joined forces for the cause and are currently sporting some impressive (and some not-so-impressive) facial hairs....full story in the Santa Barbara Independent

 

Colorado link to Multiple Sclerosis

Before the end of the week, more than two hundred patients in cities and towns across the United States will be told by their physicians that the cause of the symptoms they’ve been complaining about is MS, multiple sclerosis. In places like Colorado, there will be more patients hearing this diagnosis than in low altitude, warm weather states. And so far, no one knows why....story in La Voz (the bilingual voice of Colorado)

 

FDA Approvals: Symbyax and Edluar

March 26, 2009 — The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved fluoxetine HCl plus olanzapine capsules as therapy for treatment-resistant depression, and zolpidem tartrate sublingual tablets for the temporary treatment of insomnia.

Fluoxetine HCl/Olanzapine (Symbyax) Is First Therapy Approved for Treatment-Resistant Depression

On March 19, the FDA approved an expanded indication for fluoxetine HCl plus olanzapine capsules (Symbyax; Eli Lilly and Co), allowing its use for the acute treatment of treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
Full report in Medscape Today

 

Researchers Uncover Mechanism That Regulates Movement Of Blood-Forming Stem Cells In The Body

Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) have identified a signaling pathway that helps regulate the movement of blood-forming stem cells in the body a finding that provides important new insight into how stem cells move around the body and which may lead to improvements in the efficiency of bone marrow transplants.

The study will appear in the journal Nature, and is available online March 25th.....full report in Medical News Today

 

Obama Defends Decision To Ease Federal Restrictions On Embryonic Stem Cell Research

In a White House press conference on Tuesday, President Obama said his decision to ease some of former President George W. Bush's restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research was the "right thing to do and the ethical thing to do," the AP/Google.com reports. Obama's March 9 executive order on embryonic stem cell research allows federally funded scientists to access hundreds of new lines created since Bush's 2001 order restricting the research to 21 lines in existence at the time (AP/Google.com[1], 3/25). At Tuesday's press conference, a reporter asked Obama how much he "personally wrestled with the morality or ethics of federally funding this kind of research, especially given the fact that science so far has shown a lot of progress with adult sten cells, but not a lot with embryonic." Obama said, "I believe that it is very important for us to have strong moral guidelines, ethical guidelines, when it comes to stem cell research or anything that touches on ... the issues of possible cloning or issues related to ... the human life sciences." He continued that "those issues are all critical," adding, "I wrestle with it on stem cell[s]; I wrestle with it on issues like abortion." Obama said that "the guidelines that we provided meet that ethical test" and that "for embryos that are typically about to be discarded, for us to be able to use those in order to find cures for Parkinson's or for Alzheimer's or ... all sorts of other debilitating diseases ... that is the right thing to do." He added that his opinion is shared by "a number of people who are also against abortion" (Press conference transcript, AP/Google.com [2], 3/25). Obama said that he has "no investment in causing controversy" and that he is "happy to avoid it if that's where the science leads us." However, he added that he does not want to "predetermine this based on a very rigid ideological approach, and that's what I think is reflected in the executive order" (AP/Google.com [1], 3/25)......full report in Medical News Today

 

What's new for "Multiple Sclerosis" in PubMed

Live imaging of remyelination after antibody-mediated demyelination in an ex-vivo model for immune mediated CNS damage. - Allowing for the detailed live imaging of de- and remyelination in an ex vivo situation closely resembling the three dimensional cytoarchitecture of the CNS, we provide a useful experimental system for the evaluation of new therapeutic strategies to enhance remyelination and repair in MS. - Exp Neurol. 2009 Apr;216(2):431-8. in PubMed

Interferons and viral infections. - The unique biological functions of interferons have led to their therapeutic use in the treatment of diseases such as hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, and certain leukemias. - Biofactors. 2009;35(1):14-20. in PubMed

Antiviral immune responses: triggers of or triggered by autoimmunity? - In this Review, we outline the mechanisms by which viral infection can trigger autoimmune disease and describe the pathways by which infection and immune control of infectious disease might be dysregulated during autoimmunity. - Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 Apr;9(4):246-58. in PubMed

The brief neuropsychological battery for children: a screening tool for cognitive impairment in childhood and juvenile multiple sclerosis. - Mult Scler. 2009 Mar 24. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Does multiple sclerosis increase risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes? A population-based study. - ObjectiveTo determine whether maternal multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in an East Asian country by using a nationwide population-based dataset. - Mult Scler. 2009 Mar 24. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Potential relevance of cerebrospinal fluid and serum levels and intrathecal synthesis of active matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) as markers of disease remission in patients with multiple sclerosis. - Mult Scler. 2009 Mar 24. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

A glucocorticoid receptor gene haplotype (TthIII1/ER22/23EK/9beta) is associated with a more aggressive disease course in multiple sclerosis. - MS patients carrying the haplotype 6 (TthIIII, ER22/23EK, 9beta), have a more aggressive disease course. This is probably due to the presence of the polymorphism ER22/23EK, which causes a decreased GC sensitivity. - J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Mar 24. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

The size of the treatment effect: do patients and proxies agree? - This study examined whether MS patients and proxy respondents agreed on change in disease impact, which was induced by treatment. This may be of interest in situations when patients suffer from limitations that interfere with reliable self-assessment, such as cognitive impairment. - BMC Neurol. 2009 Mar 25;9(1):12. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

A real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for the rapid identification of the autoimmune disease-associated allele HLA-DQB1*0602. - Tissue Antigens. 2009 Apr;73(4):335-40. in PubMed

Health perceptions and clinical characteristics of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients: baseline data from an international clinical trial. - Curr Med Res Opin. 2009 Mar 23. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

MR spectroscopy (MRS) and magnetisation transfer imaging (MTI), lesion load and clinical scores in early relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis: a combined cross-sectional and longitudinal study. - Eur Radiol. 2009 Mar 24. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Natural history comparisons of primary and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis reveals differences and similarities. - Although there were some similarities between SPMS and PPMS, the former had a later onset age in our British Columbian MS cohort. - J Neurol. 2009 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

The efficacy of natalizumab in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis: subgroup analyses of AFFIRM and SENTINEL. - These results indicate that natalizumab is effective in reducing disability progres- sion and relapses in patients with relapsing MS, particularly in patients with highly active disease. - J Neurol. 2009 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells for autoimmune diseases: teaching new dogs old tricks. - Bone Marrow Transplant. 2009 Mar 23. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Optical coherence tomography differs in neuromyelitis optica compared with multiple sclerosis. -Optical coherence tomography can help distinguish the etiology of these two causes of ON, and may be useful as a surrogate marker of axonal involvement in demyelinating disease. - Neurology. 2009 Mar 24;72(12):1077-82. in PubMed

Use of ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (USPIO)-enhanced MRI to demonstrate diffuse inflammation in the normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients: An exploratory study. - J Magn Reson Imaging. 2009 Mar 20;29(4):774-779. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Clinical correlations of brain lesion distribution in multiple sclerosis. - J Magn Reson Imaging. 2009 Mar 20;29(4):768-773. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Wednesday

 

Biogen Tries to Quell Fears About MS Drug Rivals

Biogen Idec (BIIB Quote - Cramer on BIIB - Stock Picks) gathered investors together Wednesday to pitch the company's research pipeline and stifle concerns that its leading position in the multiple sclerosis treatment market was vulnerable to competition.

A phase III study of a long-acting version of Avonex, the company's top-selling multiple sclerosis drug, will begin in the middle of the year, the company announced. The drug, called PEG-Avonex, aims to be more convenient than but equally effective as Avonex, Biogen Idec's most important drug with $2.2 billion in sales last year.

Multiple sclerosis patients will take PEG-Avonex by injection every two weeks or every four weeks instead of the weekly injection required for Avonex.

Biogen Idec also said that patient enrollment has completed in the first of two phase III studies of the company's oral multiple sclerosis drug known as BG-12.

Both BG-12 and PEG-Avonex are important for Biogen Idec's future growth because of competition from Novartis (NVS Quote - Cramer on NVS - Stock Picks) and the German drug maker Merck KGaA, which are developing oral multiple sclerosis drugs of their own.

Both the Novartis drug, known as FTY720, and the Merck drug, cladribine, have posted positive results in phase III studies, and both companies have already announced plans to seek regulatory approval later this year.......full story in The Street.com

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Local man rides to raise money for M.S.


It has been seven years since his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (M.S.) and Jeff Schaefer has not once missed participating in the annual New Jersey Metro Chapter Coast the Coast Ride for the disease.

"The ride raises money for research," Schaefer said. "My team, the Cyclomaniacs, raised $14,000 last year, and we came in 14th place for top team fundraiser. Our goal is to make it in to the top 10 this year."

The entire fundraiser, with 1,500 cyclists who participated, raised a total of $1.2 million last year, Schaefer said....full story in Sentinel

 

Elan shares soar on news of possible Tysabri side-effect treatment

SHARES IN drug company Elan bounced more than 10 per cent yesterday after news emerged of a possible treatment for a potentially fatal side effect of its multiple sclerosis therapy, Tysabri.

Biogen Idec, Elan’s partner in the development and sale of Tysabri, is testing the efficacy of a malaria pill developed during the Vietnam war in treating progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), the brain infection that has been tied to use of Tysabri, according to Al Sandrock, Biogen’s head of neurology research....full story in IrishTimes.com

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Climbing to the Top of the World with Multiple Sclerosis





It's the last mountain after a lifetime of obstacles: Some that are actual mountains, another that's an incurable disease.

Lori Schneider is hoping to become the first woman with multiple sclerosis to ever defeat Mt. Everest.

"She's following through with her dreams and really she's someone to look up to for sure with her message to others to move beyond their limitations," Jim Ramsdell says.

Schneider says her goal is to "help people to realize that their life isn't over when they're diagnosed with something like MS."

It’s just a little more inspiration for a woman reaching for the top of the world, determined to control her body, her life and her fate.

Lori leaves Friday for Nepal. Her group hopes to reach the summit by mid May.
As for how MS actually affects her climbing ability, Lori says it doesn't. She says her MS has been symptom free for several years and she thinks she's stronger now than when she was first diagnosed.
Click here for the full story in WEAU News






 

Mayor proclaims MS Awareness Week

In an effort to draw attention and support to the disease, Kinston Mayor Buddy Ritch has proclaimed this week Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week.

The proclamation states that "finding the cause and developing a method of prevention for multiple sclerosis is an important task that all Americans and North Carolinians should support."....read the full story in ENC Today

 

Phil Keoghan to Take His Own Amazing Race

He's no stranger to observing overwhelming challenges, but by his own estimation, "This is the most daunting physical thing I have ever attempted," Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan tells PEOPLE about his own amazing race – a 40-day, 39-city cycling tour from Los Angeles to New York.

But Keoghan isn't undertaking the road trip strictly for fitness. His adventure, sponsored by the health-store chain GNC, will take him to GNC outlets, to casting calls for The Amazing Race, to signings of his book No Opportunity Wasted, and to promotions of his favorite portable food NOW One Square Meals. The journey will also help him raise money and awareness for Bike MS.


 

Biogen Tests Malaria Drug for Tysabri Brain Infection (Update3)

March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Biogen Idec Inc. may have found a treatment for the deadly brain infections that have been tied to use of its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, the biotechnology company’s fastest-growing product.

A malaria pill developed during the Vietnam War is being tested by Biogen on patients with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, the brain disorder known as PML, said Al Sandrock, Biogen’s head of neurology research. Tysabri was pulled from the market in 2005 after three PML cases were reported. It was reintroduced a year later when U.S. regulators said the medication’s effectiveness, twice that of other MS drugs, outweighed its risks.

In 2008, Tysabri generated $813 million in revenue for Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen and its marketing partner, Elan Corp., of Dublin. The companies also reported five new PML cases since July, reigniting concerns of patients who believe a safer Tysabri would be their best treatment option, said John Rickert of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Without the risk, sales may more than triple, said Eric Schmidt, a Cowen & Co. analyst in New York, in a telephone interview.

“If they resolved that dangerous situation, I would definitely resume therapy with Tysabri,” said Suzanne Carroll, 53, a Toledo, Ohio, radio-show host who stopped taking the medicine when she developed pneumonia and shingles. Her doctor told her those infections indicated she may be vulnerable to PML, Carroll said.

‘Felt Great’

“I really felt great on the drug,” said Carroll, who produces radio program, “The Jazz Brunch.” “It disappoints me so strongly that I’m not able to take it.”
Biogen may discuss its Tysabri safety efforts at a meeting tomorrow with investors and analysts to present its latest drug research. The company fell 50 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $51 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading at 4:14 p.m. New York time, after dropping 16 percent in the 12 months before today. Elan’s shares increased 11 percent, or 46 cents, to 4.48 euros in Dublin............read the full story in Bloomberg

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Tuesday

 

Optical Coherence Tomography: A Window Into the Mechanisms of Multiple Sclerosis

Summary
The pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by demyelination, which culminates in a reduction in axonal transmission. Axonal and neuronal degeneration seem to be concomitant features of MS and are probably the pathological processes responsible for permanent disability in this disease. The retina is unique within the CNS in that it contains axons and glia but no myelin, and it is, therefore, an ideal structure within which to visualize the processes of neurodegeneration, neuroprotection, and potentially even neurorestoration. In particular, the retina enables us to investigate a specific compartment of the CNS that is targeted by the disease process. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) can provide high-resolution reconstructions of retinal anatomy in a rapid and reproducible fashion and, we believe, is ideal for precisely modeling the disease process in MS. In this Review, we provide a broad overview of the physics of OCT, the unique properties of this method with respect to imaging retinal architecture, and the applications that are being developed for OCT to understand mechanisms of tissue injury within the brain.......
Full Summary and Introduction in Medscape Today

 

What's new for "Multiple Sclerosis" in PubMed

Use of ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (USPIO)-enhanced MRI to demonstrate diffuse inflammation in the normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients: An exploratory study. - J Magn Reson Imaging. 2009 Mar 20;29(4):774-779. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Clinical correlations of brain lesion distribution in multiple sclerosis. - To explore relations between spatial distribution of multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions, and disability. - J Magn Reson Imaging. 2009 Mar 20;29(4):768-773. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Differences in retinal nerve fiber layer atrophy between multiple sclerosis subtypes. - J Neurol Sci. 2009 Mar 19. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

The relationship between subjective reports of fatigue and executive control in Multiple Sclerosis. - The present study provided first behavioral evidence that fatigue and executive control are uniquely related in MS. - J Neurol Sci. 2009 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Pharmacokinetics of (14)C-radioactivity after oral intake of a single dose of (14)C-labeled fampridine (4-aminopyridine) in healthy volunteers. - Clin Ther. 2009 Feb;31(2):328-35. in PubMed

Interferon beta-1a for the maintenance of remission in patients with Crohn's disease: results of a phase II dose-finding study. - BMC Gastroenterol. 2009 Mar 20;9(1):22. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Perceived health status as measured by the SF-36 in patients with multiple sclerosis: a review. - Scand J Caring Sci. 2009 Mar 2. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

 

Easing the pain of MS


Hilton Head Island resident Vita Johnson is looking to stem cell treatment in China for relief from multiple sclerosis

Sometimes, the pain is manageable. Vita Johnson can operate her mechanical wheelchair, but her back and right arm are almost always in pain, like the muscles are constantly tense. Other times, the pain is unbearable. All she can do is stay in her darkened bedroom and cry.

Johnson is raising money to go to China to receive injections of stem cells, a treatment that she hopes will improve her condition. She'd like to do it in her own country, but it's not permitted in the United States.

Stem cell therapy has been hotly debated. Clinics in Costa Rica, China and elsewhere offer the treatments for a variety of afflictions, from cerebral palsy to spinal cord injuries. Some of these clinics' Web sites feature stories of the wheelchair-bound who take their first steps again, the blind who can make out shapes and letters.

IS THERE HOPE?
But in the United States, skepticism mixes with hope. Advocates of stem cell research say one day stem cell treatments may prove beneficial for Vita and other MS suffers. But the evidence isn't there yet. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society issued a statement last month encouraging research of stem cells in clinical tests.

But the society warns that overseas clinics claim success but don't back it up with scientific or medical evidence......full story in islandpacket.com

 

Multiple sclerosis may have taken use of her hands, but not her can-do attitude


As her multiple sclerosis progressed, eventually leaving her a quadriplegic, Shirley Patton discovered a new talent -- drawing and painting.

"God did that for me when I really needed it, when I lost the use of my hands," Patton said.

The Bartlett resident is one of about 70 U.S. members of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, a cooperative that helps disabled artists develop their talent and sell their work. An exhibit of Patton's pastel pencil illustrations runs through March at the Memphis Botanic Garden's Water Garden Gallery.......full story in commercialappeal.com Memphis, Online



 

Epiphany Biosciences Initiates Program to assess Valomaciclovir (EPB-348) as Adjunctive Therapy in MS

SAN FRANCISCO, March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Epiphany Biosciences announced today that the company plans on filing an IND with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to study the potential impact of using the antiviral medication valomaciclovir (EPB-348) as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Valomaciclovir has been shown to possess potent antiviral activity in vitro against a number of herpes-related viruses, including herpes simplex (HSV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpes zoster (HZV), and human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6). The drug is currently being tested in a phase 2b study in patients with acute herpes zoster infection (shingles) and in a phase 2a study in patients with acute infectious mononucleosis.

"There has been accumulating evidence that MS may be the result of multiple contributing factors, including infection by the Epstein-Barr virus," stated Fred Volinsky, MD, CEO of Epiphany. "Based on these data, we feel this is the right time to explore the potential use of valomaciclovir to help manage this illness that can affect young adults as well as children.".....full story at epiphanybio.com

Monday

 

Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D

Recommended levels in foods need to be increased, experts say


MONDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Over the course of two decades, vitamin D levels have dramatically decreased among Americans, a new study finds.

Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with rickets in children and lower bone mineral density in adults. Recent research has also linked insufficient vitamin D to cancer, heart disease, infection and poorer health overall. Optimal levels range from 30 nanograms per milliliter to 40 nanograms per milliliter, the researchers said.

"We found a marked increase in vitamin D deficiency over the past two decades," said lead researcher Dr. Adit Ginde, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. "Over three out of every four Americans now have vitamin D levels below what we believe is necessary for optimal health. African-Americans and Hispanics are at particularly high risk -- nearly all have suboptimal levels."

The report was published in the March 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine


Full story in HealthDay

 

First New Mexico Medical Cannabis Producer Approved

The New Mexico Department of Health has approved the first nonprofit in New Mexico to produce medical cannabis for patients in the Department's Medical Cannabis Program. Nonprofits are allowed to produce up to 95 mature plants and seedlings as well as a usable inventory of medical cannabis to meet the needs of patients in the program.

"We are proud that we have accomplished the last and most challenging phase of our program and now New Mexico patients who are suffering from chronic, debilitating conditions can legally access medical cannabis under State law," said Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD.
Full story in Medical News Today

Sunday

 

Going Abroad to Find Affordable Health Care

WHEN Ben Schreiner, a 62-year-old retired Bank of America executive, found out last year he would need surgery for a double hernia, he started evaluating possible doctors and hospitals. But he didn’t look into the medical center in his hometown, Camden, S.C., or the bigger hospitals in nearby Columbia. Instead, his search led him to consider surgery in such far-flung places as Ireland, Thailand and Turkey.

Ultimately he decided on San José, Costa Rica, where just a week or so after the outpatient procedure and initial recovery, he and his wife were sightseeing throughout the country, then relaxing at a lush resort. He was home four weeks later, with no complications.........full story in the New York Times

 

SA Man Claims He's Almost Cured Of MS: John Barnes Took Part In Cat Scratch Fever Study

SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio man with multiple sclerosis claims he is almost cured of the neurological disease thanks to a small study he participated in.

John Barnes' life began to change when the disease began taking over his body.....WATCH Jennifer Dodd's "KSAT" video report

....Multiple sclerosis patients who would like to test for the Bartonella infection can send a blood sample to the Galaxy Research Center in North Carolina. For more information about sending a blood sample, visit Galaxy Research Center's Web site.

News Report in KSAT.com

 

Fast Forward, LLC And EMD Serono Announce Collaboration To Accelerate Development Of Treatments For Multiple Sclerosis

EMD Serono, Inc., an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt Germany, and Fast Forward, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, recently announced a collaborative partnership to evaluate and fund promising multiple sclerosis (MS) research projects. Proposals will be jointly developed by EMD Serono and Fast Forward. Merck KGaA the parent corporation of EMD Serono, Inc., will provide up to $19M in funding. The funds will support early stage clinical development projects with biotech companies or projects with individual researchers or academic institutions.....full story in Bioresearch Online

 

Former union boss makes MS battle public

Former Maritime Union boss John Coombs made his family’s private battle public when he went to Canberra this week to help put the case for increased federal government funding for Multiple Sclerosis research. John Coombs and his wife Gwen are the full time carers of their son Garry, who was diagnosed with MS nearly twenty years ago........Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

 

Can you help MS sufferers' group?

New ideas and support are needed by a group that helps multiple sclerosis sufferers in the Leamington area.

Next year will be the 40th anniversary of the Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.It has provided support, advice and financial help to hundreds of sufferers in that time, but needs more fundraisers and committee members to ensure its work continues....full story in The Courier

 

TAU's New Treatment Could Revive Diseased Brain Cells In Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers

If you're of a certain age, you'll remember Buckminster Fuller's distinctive "geodesic domes" - soccer-ball-shaped structures that the late futurist envisioned as ideal human domiciles. Tel Aviv University chemists remember them too - and are now putting them to use in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).

In partnership with a group of Prof. Howard Weiner from Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Michael Gozin from TAU's School of Chemistry is attempting to create the next generation MS drug based on a delivery platform of "buckyballs," small soccer-ball-shaped molecules sometimes called fullerenes. Made from pure carbon, the buckyballs can function as invigorating antioxidants to keep neurons in the brain alive and kicking....full story in Medical News Today

 

Multiple Sclerosis news from around the country

Multiple sclerosis benefit St. Joseph Lodge No. 2 KSKJ and the Illinois Chapter of Multiple Sclerosis will host a ventriloquist performance at 3 p.m. April 5 at Cantigny Post VFW No. 367, 826 Horseshoe in Joliet. - The Herald News

Tiffin woman becomes advocate for multiple sclerosis - To look at Beth Donaldson of Tiffin, people probably wouldn't guess she has a cane in the trunk of her car. Since 1993, she has been struggling with the effects of multiple sclerosis. The disease set in while she was still working full time at the Tiffin Developmental Center switchboard. She was hesitant to tell people about her illness while she was working.... full story in the Advertiser-Tribune

Holkans always there to help - The BP MS 150 Bike Ride from Houston to Austin has been a constant for the past 25 years, and so have been event volunteers Don and Marilyn Holkan. The Holkans from Alvin are gearing up for 25th anniversary of the April 17 and 18 ride they’ve supported since its inception in part for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. - full story in the thefacts.com

Multiple Sclerosis Walk - People were also at Lake Ella March 21st ready to hit the pavement to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. Orange was the theme color for the annual walk that began at 10 this morning...full story at wctc.tv

 

Certain vitamins and diet changes may help ease multiple sclerosis

Dear Pharmacist, I watched Montel Williams talk about his multiple sclerosis on Oprah. He described a knife-like, burning pain in his legs similar to what I experience. Since I've started taking the vitamin B12 you suggested in Chapter 15 of your Drug Muggers book, my pain has lessened. What other suggestions do you have for people with MS? J.P. — Seattle
Read in Tulsa World

 

Biotech Could Follow Pharma's M&A Lead

Much of the drug industry's attention has recently focused on mergers and acquisitions by the biggest of Big Pharma, including much-hyped unions between Pfizer (PFE) and Wyeth (WYE), Merck (MRK) and Schering-Plough (SGP), and Roche and Genentech (DNA).

Less attention has been paid to consolidation in the biotech sector, though some experts expect plenty of activity there, too. In fact, it's already happening. Roche's March 12 buy of 100% of Genentech was one example.......full story in Invester.com

Friday

 

Christie, Corzine at odds over medical marijuana

Levittown - Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie says he opposes a bill that would allowing chronically ill patients in New Jersey to use medical marijuana. Appearing Thursday on radio station NJ101.5 FM, Christie said he supports the concept but criticized the legislation as too lax. The measure allows patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis and other serious diseases to grow marijuana plants for medicinal use or buy the drug at a licensed center. Patients would be registered with the state. Gov. Jon S. Corzine has said he would sign the bill. Corzine said the law could be structured to guard against abuses. The Senate passed the measure, but it faces an uncertain fate in the Assembly.
MSNBC.com

 

Zenvia Phase III PBA Trial Completes Patient Enrollment

AVANIR Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AVNR) announced that it has completed targeted enrollment of patients into the STAR trial, a confirmatory Phase III trial of Zenvia™ (dextromethorphan / quinidine [DM/Q]) in patients exhibiting signs and symptoms of pseudobulbar affect (PBA).

The randomized, multi-center, international STAR trial is designed to compare the effects of Zenvia 30/10 mg, Zenvia 20/10 mg and placebo on involuntary crying/laughing episodes rates. "The completion of patient enrollment into the STAR trial is an important clinical milestone for Avanir," said Dr. Randall Kaye, Avanir's Chief Medical Officer. "We look forward to unblinding the data in the third calendar quarter of this year and plan to submit our complete response to the approvable letter in the first half of 2010." ....full story in Medical News Today

 

Red Meat Linked To Blindness in Old Age

A new study from Australia suggests that eating lots of red meat is linked to a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in old age.

The study was the work of first author Dr Elaine Chong, who is from the Centre for Eye Research Australia based at the University of Melbourne, and colleagues, and is published on 1 April in the advance access issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology....full story in Medical News Today

 

What's new for "Multiple Sclerosis" in PubMed

Degenerate T-Cell Receptor Recognition, Autoreactive Cells, and the Autoimmune Response in Multiple Sclerosis. - The authors have recently identified an increased DR2 restricted TCRdeg T-cell frequency in MS patients in comparison to healthy controls, their cross-reactivity to myelin basic protein, and the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, all of which suggest that these cells may play a role in the development of the autoimmune response in MS. - Neuroscientist. 2009 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Sensorimotor dysfunction in multiple sclerosis and column-specific magnetization transfer-imaging abnormalities in the spinal cord. - These results help to understand the anatomic basis of sensorimotor disability in multiple sclerosis and have implications for testing the effects of neuroprotective and reparative interventions. - Brain. 2009 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

[Possibilities and risks of the monoclonal antibody alemtuzumab as a new treatment option for multiple sclerosis :] - In this review, data from the recently published phase II clinical trial in the treatment of early relapsing remitting MS is summarized and analyzed in light of the development of alemtuzumab for MS and its potential role in treating this disease is discussed. - Nervenarzt. 2009 Mar 20. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Assessing structure and function of the afferent visual pathway in multiple sclerosis and associated optic neuritis. - These collective investigative methods have advanced knowledge of pathophysiological mechanisms in MS and optic neuritis. Relevant ongoing studies and future directions are discussed. - J Neurol. 2009 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

[Optic neuromyelitis: Main differences with multiple sclerosis.] - We compare between the optic neuromyelitis and the multiple sclerosis, being based on the main ones characteristic clinical-epidemic that distinguishes these two pathologies, considered by many clinical variants of oneself illness. - An Med Interna. 2008 Jun;25(6):294-6. in PubMed

Patients' stratification and correlation of brain magnetic resonance imaging parameters with disability progression in multiple sclerosis. - We conclude that stratification of patients according to the MRI criterion (LL) can increase the predictive ability of MRI. Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel. - Eur Neurol. 2009;61(5):278-84. Epub 2009 Mar 17. in PubMed

Inflammation triggers synaptic alteration and degeneration in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. - Our data establish a link between neuroinflammation and synaptic degeneration and calls for early neuroprotective therapies in chronic inflammatory diseases of the CNS. - J Neurosci. 2009 Mar 18;29(11):3442-52. in PubMed

Cognitive-linguistic deficit and speech intelligibility in chronic progressive multiple sclerosis. - Speech and language therapists who work with dysarthric patients with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis should monitor cognitive-linguistic impairment. An awareness of this might influence assessment, intervention and management, including the information and advice given to patients and their relatives. - Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2009 Mar 17:1-20. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Stem cells: comprehensive treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in conjunction with growth factor delivery. - Growth Factors. 2009 Mar 17:1. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Replication analysis identifies TYK2 as a multiple sclerosis susceptibility factor. - Eur J Hum Genet. 2009 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Mitochondrial changes within axons in multiple sclerosis. - Our findings have important implications for both axonal degeneration and dysfunction during the progressive stage of multiple sclerosis. - Brain. 2009 Mar 17. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Vitamin D insufficiency common in newborns, children and pregnant women living in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. -Further research on the vitamin D status of this population is important, considering the potential adverse health-related outcomes and the recommendations on supplementation being made. - Matern Child Nutr. 2009 Apr;5(2):186-91. in PubMed

[Vestibular evoked myogenic potential findings on multiple sclerosis] - VEMP was considered a good method of diagnostic support of vestibulospinal tract in cases of MS. - Rev Neurol. 2009 Mar 16-31;48(6):284-6. in PubMed

Multiple sclerosis therapeutics: unexpected outcomes clouding undisputed successes. -In this essay, we draw attention to some recent downsides and surprises of multiple sclerosis (MS) therapeutics. These include experiences with recent head-to-head trials of interferon-beta and glatiramer acetate, dose escalation trials, frustrating efforts with progressive MS trials, failures of smart concepts and designer therapies, and harsh lessons from newly observed adverse reactions. - Neurology. 2009 Mar 17;72(11):1008-15. in PubMed

Interferon-beta modifies the peripheral blood cell cytokine secretion in patients with multiple sclerosis. - The reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokine production in the treated MS patient group, accompanied by a simultaneous increase in the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and the reduction of relapse rates suggest that the beneficial effects of IFNbeta immunotherapy result, at least in part, from the modulation of cytokine patterns. - Int Immunopharmacol. 2009 Mar 13. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Wednesday

 

What's new for "Multiple Sclerosis" in PubMed

[Vestibular evoked myogenic potential findings on multiple sclerosis.] - VEMP was considered a good method of diagnostic support of vestibulospinal tract in cases of MS. - Rev Neurol. 2009 Mar 16-31;48(6):284-6. in PubMed

Multiple sclerosis therapeutics: unexpected outcomes clouding undisputed successes. - In this essay, we draw attention to some recent downsides and surprises of multiple sclerosis (MS) therapeutics. These include experiences with recent head-to-head trials of interferon-beta and glatiramer acetate, dose escalation trials, frustrating efforts with progressive MS trials, failures of smart concepts and designer therapies, and harsh lessons from newly observed adverse reactions. - Neurology. 2009 Mar 17;72(11):1008-15. in PubMed

Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in patients with multiple sclerosis. - The location of venous obstructions plays a key role in determining the clinical course of the disease. - J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2009 Apr;80(4):392-9. Epub 2008 Dec 5. in PubMed

Interferon-beta modifies the peripheral blood cell cytokine secretion in patients with multiple sclerosis. - Int Immunopharmacol. 2009 Mar 13. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

[Multiple sclerosis and erectile dysfunction] - ..the relationship between MS-induced peripheral nerve injury and ED should be understood correctly. Further researches on these mediators can provide some theoretical evidence for the clinical treatment of ED. - Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2009 Jan;15(1):56-9. in PubMed

 

EMD Serono pumps $19M into MS research deal

Rockland-based biopharmaceutical EMD Serono Inc. and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society are joining hands to work on combined research projects, with the corporation’s parent bankrolling the venture with as much as $19 million.

EMD Serono, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, has a two-year agreement with the MS Society, which could continue an additional three years. More specifically, EMD Serono will be collaborating with New York-based Fast Forward LLC, itself a wholly-owned nonprofit subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Fast Forward’s purpose is to connect research and drug development. To that end, it partners with early stage biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to advance drug development, diagnostics, medical devices, and other technologies to treat multiple sclerosis. Fast Forward attempts to develop these treatments as quickly as possibly.

The collaboration with EMD Serono has a goal of accelerating the research and development of a group of handpicked projects. The project proposals will be jointly developed by EMD Serono and Fast Forward, with Merck KGaA providing the $19 million. The cash will support early stage clinical development projects with biotechs, as well as projects involving individual researchers or academic facilities. The cash will be used to make up for funding gaps in the drug development processes for the most promising drug candidates.

Fast Forward will issue requests for proposals in the second quarter this year. The first funds will be released by December 2009, and Fast Forward’s board of directors will manage and approve all payments.

Mass High Tech - The Journal of New England Technology

 

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"Why Walgreen Is Like Switzerland" Wall Street Journal

[Important Note from the MS News Channel: We are currently gathering more information from patient/consumers and will be reporting news about Walgreen's purchase of McKesson Specialty Care Solutions in the next few days as information becomes available. Shirley Richardson, MS News Channel Editor]


Walgreen isn’t going to follow its arch rival CVS into the pharmacy benefits business, Walgreen CEO Jeffrey Rein said at the company’s annual meeting yesterday. Instead, the company will pursue a “Switzerland” strategy — remaining neutral and doing business with everybody, Rein said, according to the WSJ.

Last year, CVS merged with Caremark, a big pharmacy benefits manager. PBMs manage prescription drug benefits for employers, and Caremark and CVS suggested the deal would allow them to offer streamlined service.

Rein doesn’t buy it. “Independence promotes transparency as we work with health-care and insurance plans to provide the best overall care for their patients,” he said yesterday. But the two-year stock charts for the companies (see above) suggest the markets seem to believe in the CVS Caremark one-stop-shop model.

Still, Walgreen clearly isn’t above expanding its business lines when it sees fit. Last year, it bought Option Care in an $850 million deal that gave it a bigger footprint in the home-infusion business. And it picked up Take Care Health Systems to speed its effort to put health clinics inside Walgreen stores.

The Wall Street Journal





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