Friday, November 30, 2007
Medical Reports: Multiple Sclerosis
Approximately 400,000 people in this country suffer from multiple sclerosis, and there's still no cure. In today's Healthcast, Seven's Christine Cruz shows us how a new drug is showing promise.
WSVN -- Rich Elliott is having fun with his daughter, but it's hard work just staying on his feet.
Rich Elliott: "It's difficult to walk and stay upright without falling.
At 36, Rich is fighting a daily battle with multiple sclerosis or MS.
Rich Elliott: "Dexterity, speech is slurred sometimes."
Rich is now part of a small group of people in the U.S. testing a new drug. At this point, he'd settle for anything that keeps the symptoms from getting worse.
Rich Elliott: "I know that this is as bad as it's going to get, and I could handle that."
Researchers say current MS therapies affect more than just the bad cells, the can also harm good cells that protect the body's nervous system.
Dr. Arthur Vandenbark: "It's like having a sledge hammer to kill a fly."
Doctor Arthur Vandenbark and his team designed RTL 1,000 zero-in on the bad cells that cause MS. These pictures from an animal study show MS before RTL, and after the MS cells simply disappear.
Dr. Arthur Vandenbark: "I think we can potentially reduce the symptoms a lot."
Researchers also hope RTL will reverse damage already caused by MS. For Elliott, it's hard to imagine.
Rich Elliott: "If I could walk on my own again without any assistance, have a normal day, be able to use your fingers, to get it back would be incredible."
Christine Cruz: "If RTL 1,000 is proven effective in the fight against MS, scientists hope this kind of therapy may also be used to treat other auto-immune diseases such as, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Weill Cornell Medical Center
1300 York Avenue, Box 144
New York, NY 10021