Benign multiple sclerosis may sound like a contradiction in terms, but some patients live for decades with only mild symptoms. Whether neurologists can predict which people will develop this slow-motion form of MS remains controversial. Now, a new study reveals that individuals with benign MS show a distinct gene-activity pattern. In these people, a pathway essential for manufacturing proteins slows down and cell suicide climbs.
In the last couple of decades, nine new drugs have come on the market to treat M.S.; at least four more are currently being tested on humans. Few diseases have seen such radical transformation of treatment options in such a short time. Yet for all the new options, many of the 2.1 million people worldwide afflicted with the disease (400,000 of them in the United States) have not seen improvements, and some M.S. patients find that the adverse reactions from the drugs aren’t worth the benefits.
High-dose simvastatin (Zocor) significantly reduced brain loss and slowed advancement of disability for 2 years in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Gilenya is the first approved oral disease modifying treatment for MS. Combined data from a Phase II study and two Phase III trials showed that Gilenya reduces relapses, disability progression, MRI lesion activity, and brain atrophy progression (loss of brain tissue).
Read the full story on Gilenya for Multiple Sclerosis
Dr. Fox was recently asked to talk about CCSVI and research into this topic on a National MS society webcast. Other MS researchers also comment on new directions in MS in this webcast. Dr. Fox's component is later in the program at 54 minutes.
Watch these videos to learn about recent improvements in treatment options and research.