Friday, April 11, 2008
Medical Reports: Stop MS
About 400,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis. It's a debilitating disease that causes difficulty walking, loss of balance and vision and an inability to control breathing, but as Christine Cruz shows us, doctors are testing a new drug that could stop the disease in its tracks.
WSVN -- For Cathy Gregory, independence doesn't come easy. Simple tasks like reaching into the cabinet take every ounce of energy she can muster, and without this wheelchair, she's immobile. Cathy's fighting a debilitating form of multiple sclerosis known as secondary progressive MS, or SPMS.
Steven Cohen: "It's a slow, relentless process where they just get progressively worse."
About 40 percent of MS patients have SPMS. Cathy has tried every drug available with no results.
Cathy Gregory: "I was on rebif and I was on novantrone, which is a chemotherapy drug, and I believe it was eight doses that I went through. It didn't work for me."
While there are effective drugs for traditional MS, there are no current treatments for SPMS, but a new injectable drug, MBP 82-98, could help. Similar to an allergy shot, patients receive the injection twice a year, which introduces a protein that helps the immune system build tolerance to the disease.
Steven Cohen: "What we hope is that infusion of this small peptide, or small protein, will prevent or stop or at least, hopefully, slow this progressive, downhill course that these patients have."
Neurologist Steven Cohen says this drug won't offer patients a cure, but it could give them something almost as good.
Steven Cohen: "People can live a semi-normal, almost normal life and plan for the future and know what to expect."
As for Cathy, the possibility of freedom gives her hope.
Cathy Gregory: "To know that this drug could start to slow down the process, that gives me somewhat of an encouragement that, yes, I can take care of myself."
Christine Cruz: "Trials of the drug are currently taking place across the U.S. and Canada, but although they've been successful, Dr. Cohen says it could be several years before the drug is widely available."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact:MAESTRO-03 Clinical Trials