Monday, November 09, 2009

New drug therapies and promising studies offer hope for MS patients

From the Vancouver Sun:
Early diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can change the lives of people living with this chronic disease of the central nervous system.

“Today, there is a huge urgency to make the diagnosis because we know that early and aggressive treatment can alter the course of the disease,” says MS specialist and University of Alberta assistant clinical professor Dr. Brad Stewart. “Back 15 or 20 years, diagnosis was less urgent because we had nothing to offer the patient.”

Then, says Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie, the director of the multiple sclerosis clinic of the University of Manitoba Health Sciences Centre, “treatment largely focused on acute management of relapses — those times when people presented with sudden worsening of symptoms like vision loss, limb weakness or numbness. We tried to help them manage some of the chronic symptoms like fatigue and difficulty in walking.

“We didn’t have medication that we thought could alter the long-term course of the disease.”

In 1995, the first drug treatment that could modify the disease was approved. Shortly afterwards, three more drugs of the Interferon type were added. In 2006, a fifth drug was approved. ...more

No comments: