A vaccine for Secondary Progressive MS... nice! I love seeing research happening for that group of MS'ers.
"ATX-MS-1467, is a vaccine containing four peptides derived from human myelin basic protein that targets the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecule and has been specifically designed and developed to treat MS patients. The recently completed ATX-MS-1467 Phase I/IIa open label trial was designed as a dose escalation study to assess the safety and tolerability with all six patients receiving five escalating doses given 7 to 14 days apart of 25, 50, 100, 400 and 800 followed by a repeat of the 800 microgram dose."
The immunological analyses showed a reduction of up to 40% in myelin basic protein-induced T-cell proliferation one month after the course of treatment with ATX-MS-1467 while the T-cell response to PPD (a constituent of the BCG vaccine) was unchanged.
Walkaide helping foot drop
Nice story on a device thats helping.
"It sends a stimulation to the appropriate nerve to help them pick up the foot to give them a normal gait pattern when they walk," said Brian Karban, an orthotist at Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics.
The device, about the size of an iPod, is strapped around the calf, and a gentle electric signal is sent from the device to the leg, telling the foot to lift and lower.
The WalkAide helped regenerate communication between Gomez-Trost's brain and her foot.
"When I first put it on all I could say was awesome, awesome," she said.
Without the WalkAide, Gomez-Trost limped along with the help of a cane. Using the device, she is able to climb stairs with no visible limp.
For those Lost fans out there... you know who you are ;) 2 days and 7 hours to go! Woohoo!
Genetic differences in MS patients
So, have a read below and tell me... would you want to know what your genetic make up is to get better treatment?
"By comparing the DNA of patients with multiple sclerosis whose symptoms are reduced by interferon beta therapy to the DNA of those who continue to experience relapses, researchers may have identified important genetic differences between the two, according to an article posted online today that will appear in the March 2008 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. These differences could eventually be used to help predict which treatments will help which patients.
Esther Byun, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues of a multi-center international collaboration followed a group of 206 Southern European patients with relapsing-remitting MS—the most common type, in which patients experience periods of symptoms followed by periods of symptom-free remission—for two years after they began interferon beta therapy. Every three months, neurologists analyzed patients’ disability levels; throughout the study, 99 responded positively to interferon beta and 107 did not.
The researchers pooled the DNA of individuals in each group and used microarrays to identify, across the genome, genetic markers associated with the response to interferon beta. They identified the top 35 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), changes in a single base of DNA, that were candidates for further analysis. They then located these SNPs in each individual participant to see if the mutations apparent in responders differed from those in non-responders. After this analysis was complete, an additional 81 individuals with MS (44 responders and 35 non-responders) were included and the DNA of responders was again compared to that of non-responders.
Of the 35 candidate SNPs identified in the first screen, 18 were found to remain significantly associated with treatment response in the combined screen. Seven of the SNPs were located within genes, while the others were located in the space between genes. Some of the SNPs were located in genes previously linked to processes involved with MS, such as the growth and repair of nerve cells.
“The beneficial outcomes of interferon beta therapy for patients in the relapsing-remitting phase of MS have been clearly shown,” the authors write. “On the other hand, the effect of this treatment is partial, and a substantial amount of patients are not responders. Hence, in the absence of prognostic clinical, neuroradiological and/or immunological markers of response, the question remains who and when to treat when adverse effects, inconvenience and the cost of the drug are significant.”
The identification of genetic mutations that affect response to interferon provides important new information about how the drug functions in the body, bringing medicine one step closer to rational drug design and personalized medicine, the authors note. However, additional research will be needed to fully predict treatment outcomes based on DNA analysis.
New Way To Block Destructive Rush Of Immune Cells Found
This is an interesting read for those that like the more "scientific approach" to treatment research for MS. Good stuff going on out there.
A team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center has been studying proteins called integrins that enable T cells, a major subset of immune cells, to migrate. The integrin-related mechanisms described for the first time in the current paper suggest a way to shut down only those T cells currently in the act of disease-related migration, while leaving in place reserves needed in the likely event that another infection occurs during treatment. Making the mechanistic discoveries possible was a successful effort by the team to capture on video the first detailed images of fast-migrating T cells and the behavior of key proteins related to migration, which had been tagged with fluorescence. Twelve videos of T cells, and their key migration proteins, in action are part of the publication and are available online.
"There are many cases where it would be incredibly useful to precisely block integrin activation, and thus T cell migration," said Minsoo Kim, Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology within the David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology at the Medical Center, and lead author of the article. "Good examples include when our immune system attacks our own cells, or rejects a lifesaving transplant or clogs our blood vessels by mistake. The problem is that past, system-wide attempts that block all integrin activation, like the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, shut down not only unwanted inflammation in one locale, but also vital immune defenses elsewhere, leaving patients vulnerable to infection."
Kim's team found that a subset of integrins, including lymphocyte function--associated antigen-1 (LFA-1), control whether or not the tail end of the T cell can "let go" (de- adhesion). Data revealed for the first time that a protein called non-muscle myosin heavy chain-IIA (MyH9) is recruited to LFA-1 at the trailing end of migrating T lymphocytes. Experiments that interfered with the association between MyH9 and the LFA-1 integrin were found to prevent the trailing edge of the crawling T cell from letting go, dramatically reducing the ability of T cells to move. Myosins are motor proteins that expend energy to enable cell skeletons to contract.
Thats a cool idea!
The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, Minnesota Chapter will host a getaway for men with MS from Friday, February 8 until Sunday, February 10, at the Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria. The Men's Getaway includes two nights lodging, meals and activities, workshops about physical and mental health, ice fishing, a Texas Hold 'Em tournament and discussion groups.
Well, this story I can verify as absolutely true for me! Well, that is until I started using the wait list system. Then it turned into not more than a week wait time if you can be available on an hours notice. Worth it to me.
"Ontarians wait 32 days in comparison while the recommended wait time for the non X-ray diagnostic procedure is no more than a month, says a report released Tuesday by the Canadian Medical Association."
Wow, half the time. I'm jealous. Although, being on this clinical trial has changed any access issues I've had in the past. All my appointments have been scheduled from the day I signed on to the trial so there is no wait. And I only had to do an MRI at the beginning and I'll do one again at that end.
For those that can watch tomorrow, this is the topic on Larry King:
"Today show anchor Meredith Vieira and husband Richard Cohen open up about his battle with MS."
Happy belated New Years everyone! My New Years started out a bit rough with a bout of fatigue that took me down a notch. I had to cancel out of some social getherings and just stay low key but it has slowly lifted now and I'm starting to feel a little more energetic. MS is cruel sometimes. Right when my numbness and tingling ends in my legs and I'm happy about being more mobile and hiking tonnes, I get fatigue! Boo! Perhaps this is like April... whats that saying? In like a lion and out like lamb? Okay, I'll take that.
I had a great injection last weekend. I think it was better because my stab technique was good and fast and in one consistent motion. I think my muscle likes that better than a slow long insertion. It still feels like such a conflicting thing to do to myself. Stab my leg with a longish needle and pretend I'm not going to feel it! Doesn't matter that I'm doing a good thing for myself, it still just feels wrong! Ha! I'm kinda curious now what it would feel like having someone else do my injection. I have a friend in nursing school and I've offered him to practice on me, but I wonder if it'll feel different. Perhaps I should just bring my injection over to him one day and find out. I bet he has good technique by now with giving injections every day in praticums.