Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Drug Slows Relapsing-Remitting MS

Written by Anthony Hardie,
March 18, 2012

( - A new journal article says two proof of concept Phase III clinical trials have demonstrated modest benefit from a new drug for multiple sclerosis.  Like ALS, MS it thought to be at higher rates among veterans of the 1991 Gulf War.

The article by Dr. Giancarlo Comi et al, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM, March 15, 2012), says his research team's two studies showed that oral laquinimod slows the progression of disability and reduces the effects of the relapsing-remitting form of MS.

Benefits of the once-daily therapy included reduced risk of relapse, reduced risk of confirmed disability progression, and reduced cumulative numbers of lesions and of new or enlarging lesions.

According to a U.S. News & World Report article about the study:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that damages the outside of nerve fibers in the central nervous system, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The brain, spine and optic nerves make up the central nervous system. Symptoms of the disease can include fatigue, numbness in the limbs, balance and coordination problems, bladder or bowel dysfunction, vision problems, pain and even paralysis, according to the society.
Most patients -- about 85 percent -- have a form of MS that's called relapsing-remitting, the society has reported. That means that people have periods where the disease is very active, and at other times the disease remits. During these periods of remission, there may be complete or partial recovery of function, and the disease doesn't progress during remission, according to the society.

The study was funded by Teva Pharmaceuticals, which also developed the drug.

The UK's Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre has more news on this drug.

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