"Novartis’s copy of Betaseron is called Extavia. It’s the exact same drug, with a different name. Novartis got the rights to launch a copy of Betaseron through a complicated deal stemming from its 2006 acquisition of Chiron. Novartis has already started selling Extavia in Europe, and is paying Bayer royalties on the sales.
Both Betaseron and Extavia are known by the generic name interferon beta-1b. Interferon beta-1b is a widely used injectible drug, prescribed to reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations in relapsing forms of MS."
5 Years Later
A lot has changed. Including my eyes! My vision is better than before the double vision! Weird to have healed to be stronger than before getting all gimpy. My health today is pretty damn good. I changed many things in my life (things I won't be going into here, email me if you like) and now I can work more, I can hike 7kms with or without numb legs and I'm on the clinical trial drug Fingolimod that seems to be doing what it's intended to do. I even had the opportunity to overcome my needle phobia on the clinical trial as I injected "Avonex" for the first year of the clinical trial. Okay, it turned out to be sugar water in those needles, but still. Grateful to not faint every time I give blood!
So as much as I like to sometimes hate on my MS, for the most part I'm pretty damn happy with where I'm at in my life and I'm no longer as afraid as I used to be to try new things for fear my MS will make me fail.
GIFT15, puts MS into remission by suppressing the immune response
The new treatment, appropriately named GIFT15, puts MS into remission by suppressing the immune response. This means it might also be effective against other autoimmune disorders like Crohn's disease, lupus and arthritis, the researchers said, and could theoretically also control immune responses in organ transplant patients. Moreover, unlike earlier immune-supppressing therapies which rely on chemical pharamaceuticals, this approach is a personalized form of cellular therapy which utilizes the body's own cells to suppress immunity in a much more targeted way.
GIFT15 was discovered by a team led by Dr. Jacques Galipeau of the JGH Lady Davis Institute and McGill's Faculty of Medicine. The results were published August 9 in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine.
GIFT15 is composed of two proteins, GSM-CSF and interleukin-15, fused together artificially in the lab. Under normal circumstances, the individual proteins usually act to stimulate the immune system, but in their fused form, the equation reverses itself.
"You know those mythical animals that have the head of an eagle and the body of a lion? They're called chimeras. In a lyrical sense, that's what we've created," said Galipeau, a world-renowned expert in cell regeneration affiliated with the Segal Cancer Centre at the Jewish General and McGill's Centre for Translational Research. "GIFT15 is a new protein hormone composed of two distinct proteins, and when they're stuck together they lead to a completely unexpected biological effect."
This effect, explained Galipeau, converts B-cells -- a common form of white blood cell normally involved in immune response -- into powerful immune-suppressive cells. Unlike their better-known cousins, T-cells, naturally-occurring immune-suppressing B-cells are almost unknown in nature and the notion of using them to control immunity is very new.
"GIFT15 can take your normal, run-of-the-mill B-cells and convert them -- in a Superman or Jekyll -Hyde sort of way -- into these super-powerful B-regulatory cells," Galipeau explained. "We can do that in a petri dish. We took normal B-cells from mice, and sprinkled GIFT15 on them, which led to this Jekyll and Hyde effect.
"And when we gave them back intravenously to mice ill with multiple sclerosis, the disease went away."
MS must be caught in its earliest stages, Galipeau cautioned, and clinical studies are needed to test the treatment's efficacy and safety in humans. No significant side-effects showed up in the mice, he said, and the treatment was fully effective with a single dose.
"It's easy to collect B-cells from a patient," he added. "It's just like donating blood. We purify them in the lab, treat them with GIFT15 in a petri dish, and give them back to the patient. That's what we did in mice, and that's what we believe we could do in people. It would be very easy to take the next step, it's just a question of finding the financial resources and partnerships to make this a reality."
The sunsets were especially amazing this weekend with the weather the way it is. I think I even got a bit of a tan! Lots of swimming in the ocean and interestingly enough, the hot weather didn't bother me at all. In fact, it would be hard to know I had MS this weekend. Oh, except for taking that little pill every morning and writing down the time in my journal :)
We were out on a boating trip and came across some crazy active seals frolicking about. They were slapping the water super hard! I'm wondering if we happened upon a mating dance in action. Hard to get a really good shot as we didn't want to get too close.
And Sadie... well, she did what she does best. Guard "her" beach.