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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
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Multiple Sclerosis Institute
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Weill Medical College of Cornell University

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New York-Presbyterian Hospital
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Timothy L. Vollmer M.D.
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center
Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center

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Clinical Trials and the Future of MS

One of the first things I remember after receiving my MS diagnosis was my loving and concerned father asking me to promise I’d never take part in a clinical trial. The very notion of a clinical trial scared the hell out of me so it wasn’t difficult to make that promise.
That was almost 30 years ago and so far I’ve kept my promise. The reason why is not what you think. Of course I want to honor my promise, but that’s easy for me because I’m doing well on Copaxone, the injectable I’ve been using for almost 20 years.

In recent months I began learning more about the importance of clinical trials. They are a key research tool to advancing patient care and furthering medical knowledge. Positive outcomes of clinical trials can help healthcare decision-makers direct more resources to what works best for the patient.

Some people in the MS community harbor deep concerns about taking part in clinical trials. They raise valid questions about their purpose, side effects, pricing, repair, and politics and they question the lack of funding for stem cell therapy.
I recently asked the MS Facebook group I’m a part of about their thoughts on clinical trials. I thought I’d share a few here. I think you’ll agree their thoughts echo our own:
  • Make the price of drugs more affordable.
  • Taking care of patients before profits.
  • Concentrate more on developing treatment and repair for progressive forms of MS.
  • Create a wider scope for qualifying for trials.
  • Add more locations.
  • Place more emphasis on secondary MS.
  • Provide more education for neurologists. I have been to far too many that aren’t up to date on the newest treatments. I’ve been to a couple that didn’t even know what Copaxone or Rebif were.
  • Consider quality of life and side effects.
  • Focus on repairing myelin instead of a 30% chance of stopping relapses. Focus on a cause and a cure!!
  • I’d like to understand why MS drugs are allowed to have so many side effects. What good is a drug that can help or even cure if it can also make us incredibly ill or lead to death?
  • Of course the cost of the medication is of great concern to all of us. However, I would like for them to be more informed on treating MS and not just supply a medication that causes side effects that often require more medications.
  • 1) Stem cells. I feel that’s where our cure may be or in that direction. 2) Why is it not approved by the FDA. 3) Why are there so few clinical trials with stem cells?
  • There are currently NO MS drugs available that have been shown to reduce frequency of relapses or rate of progression more than making dietary and lifestyle changes. None. Why don’t they study the benefits on the body that these changes bring and develop something that ACTUALLY HELPS!
  • Please consider something for fatigue and nerve pain that keeps working with minimal or no side effects.
  • I’d also like to know why our hard earned donations aren’t being used to study any & all-possible benefits. Which would include dietary changes, supplements & exercises

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by MULTIPLESCLEROSIS.NET
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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