The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Quebec Division, Pays Tribute to Three Quebecers at the Opal Awards Dinner

March 22, 2006 by  
Filed under MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

MONTREAL, QUEBEC–(CCNMatthews – March 21, 2006) – The fourth Opal Awards Dinner, named for Evelyn Opal, the founder of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MSSC), was held on Wednesday, March 1st, at the Sheraton Centre in Montreal. This prestigious awards ceremony pays tribute to the outstanding achievements and social commitment of three Quebecers. This year’s Opal Awards Dinner raised $451,100 in donations and services for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Quebec Division. The money will be used to support research and services for people with multiple sclerosis and their families.

Robert E. Brown, President and CEO of CAE Inc., received the highest distinction of the evening, the Grand Merit Opal Award, for his career achievements and philanthropy.

The Opal Ambassador Award was presented to Robert Gervais, President and CEO of Pre2Post Inc., for his commitment to the MSSC. He has been a member of the MS Leadership Awards selection committee since 2002 and currently chairs this committee. It is because of Robert Gervais that the MSSC has been able to expand its visibility within the business community.

Nathalie Brouard, a Partner, Tax Services with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, received the Tribute Opal Award in acknowledgement of her courage and leadership. A volunteer with the MSSC since 1998, Nathalie Brouard formed what has become the number one team in the Super Cities WALK for MS, raising over $110,000 to fight the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is the most widespread neurological disorder among young adults in Canada. It mainly strikes between the ages of 15 and 40 and there is no cure. Some 12,000 Quebecers have MS.

For more information on the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Quebec Division, see the Web site at www.mssociety.ca/qc .

A division of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada – Registered Charitable Organization No. 10490 2523 RR0001

Source and Photo will be available on CP picture wire.

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:

www.ccnmatthews.com/em/1111

CONTACT INFORMATION
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Quebec Division
Isabelle Laplante
Communications Coordinator
(514) 849-7591 or 1 800 268-7582
isabelle.laplante@mssociety.ca

Multiple Sclerosis Drug Combined with Lipitor May Stop or Reverse Disease – Dosages Cut in Half with Fewer Negative Side Effects

March 22, 2006 by  
Filed under MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

March 16th 2006

Combining treatments may improve outcomes for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), according to research done on mice and published online by the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Scott S. Zamvil and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco found that mice treated with a combination of Glatiramer acetate (GA) and atorvastatin (Lipitor) demonstrated “a significant prevention and reversal of clinical MS severity” of MS symptoms.

Lipitor is a cholesterol lowering drug that has previously been shown to improve MS symptoms. Glatiramer acetate (Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s Copaxone) is a drug currently approved for MS treatment. The researchers found that treating MS with combinations of immune modulating drugs can greatly reduce MS disease.

According to the researchers, treating EAE (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis) mice with the combination therapy caused the animals to lose less myelin, prevented CNS inflammation, and MS disease incidence.

The researchers then treated isolated inflammatory cells called macrophages with these drugs and found that the combination therapy mediated its effects by promoting the secretion of the anti-inflammatory molecule IL-10 and suppressed production of the proinflammatory molecules IL-12 and TNF-alpha.

The researchers believe that the combined delivery of drugs, which act through different mechanisms, may enhance the therapeutic efficacy of MS and reduce the negative side effects. Also the drug dosages were less than the dosages used in regular single drug treatments.

Copaxone has been shown to be 30 to 35 percent effective alone. According to Bloomberg News, all MS drugs have to be injected, and have “severe side effects”. None of the MS drugs are very potent.

Lipitor on the other hand can be taken orally and is considered relatively safe. Lipitor, the best selling drug in the world, appears to block production of immune system agents, called cytokines, involved in the disease process. Currently the University of California, San Francisco is looking for 152 patients at 14 hospitals to participate in clinical trials. These trials will investigate the effect Lipitor alone has on MS. Contact the office of Scott Zamvil, associate professor of neurology at University of California, San Francisco, for more information.

There are 400,000 MS sufferers in the US. The illness causes neurological symptoms that include loss of motor control, blindness and temporary recurring paralysis. The condition occur when the body’s natural defenses are over stimulated and begin stripping the protective insulation, called myelin, from nerve fibers in the central nervous system, which includes the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord.

Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

Source

Copyright 2005 Best Syndication
Last Updated Thursday, March 16, 2006 06:07 PM

FDA Advisers Endorse Return of Multiple Sclerosis Drug

March 22, 2006 by  
Filed under MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

03.08.06, 12:00 AM ET

WEDNESDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) — A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously Wednesday to allow the promising but controversial multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri back on the market.

The advisers continued to discuss certain controls on who could use the drug, which has been linked to a rare but potentially fatal brain infection. The panel members agreed to a manufacturer plan for a mandatory patient registry; they were scheduled to decide later in the day who would be allowed to enroll in the registry, and how tightly drug use would be limited, the Associated Press reported.

While the full FDA generally follows the recommendations of its advisory panels, it is not required to do so. The agency is expected to render its final decision on the drug by the end of the month.

Physicians and MS patients alike were heartened by the decision, which came during the second day of two days of deliberations.

“Tysabri is a very important step forward despite the fact that there are some concerns and limitations concerning its safety, but the safety risk at the moment, in the range of about one in 1,000, is probably well worth taking for patients with more severe or unstable disease,” said Dr. Joseph Herbert, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Care Center and chief of neurology at New York University/Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City.

“Patients with rapidly progressive or aggressive MS are probably at far greater risk because of the disease than they are from a potential rare side effect of the drug,” Herbert said.

MS patient and attorney Karen Miller, 49, told the committee that Tysabri “is as close as it comes” to a miracle drug. Miller credited the drug with a renewed ability to ride her bike, wash her windows and run daily errands, the AP said.

“I am at the end of my road, in terms of what I can take. I want it to be my choice,” another MS patient, Barbara Crooks, 48, told the news service.

Tysabri’s manufacturers, Biogen Idec Inc. and Elan Corp, pulled the drug off the market in February 2005 after three patients taking it developed progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy (PML), a progressive, neurodegenerative disease. Two of those patients died.

The removal took place just three months after the FDA had granted accelerated approval of the drug for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS.

In February, the FDA announced that Biogen and Elan could resume clinical trials for MS patients who were previously treated with the drug under an investigational study.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that can range from relatively benign to somewhat disabling to devastating. Most MS patients experience their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40, and most suffer muscle weakness in their extremities and difficulty with coordination and balance. These symptoms may be bad enough to hamper walking or even standing; in worst cases, MS can produce partial or complete paralysis.

Tysabri is a monoclonal antibody, engineered to attach itself to white blood cells called lymphocytes and prevent them from entering the brain, where they do damage that causes the disabling symptoms of MS. Tysabri had also been used to treat Crohn’s disease.

One of the biggest issues in bringing the drug back to market is what kind of risk-management plan should be implemented. An initial plan submitted to the FDA by the manufacturers was considered insufficient.

“There’s no question with this kind of essentially lethal risk that there is going to have to be some kind of risk-management program,” Dr. Robert Temple, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said at a Tuesday news conference.

Other features of a risk-management plan could include restrictions on who gets the drug, administering the drug at a registered infusion center, and monitoring all patients on the drug for at least five years. The drug may be restricted only to individuals with more severe forms of the disease, patients who have failed other therapies, and patients who are not taking other immunosuppressants.

“The three cases that did develop PML were all patients who were on other immune modulator drugs,” Herbert noted. “If we use Tysabri judiciously and as a monotherapy, it is possible that the risk will turn out to be lower than we imagine.”

Tysabri is only the second prescription drug to be returned to the market after being taken off. The other was Lotronex, used for irritable bowel syndrome, which was withdrawn in 2000 but allowed back on the market two years later.

“Lotronex was a unique drug with value for some people,” Temple said. “The drugs that disappear permanently tend to be drugs that tend to have substitutes.”

More information

Find out more about Tysabri at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Source

© Forbes.com Inc.™ All Rights Reserved

Related Posts with Thumbnails

NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.