Landmark Study Targets Repair and Regeneration for MS Patients

New York, NY- November 21, 2011- The Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York (MSRCNY) and the International Cellular Medicine Society (ICMS) jointly announced today the ICMS Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) approval of the first study to use autologous brain-like or neural stem cells for multiple sclerosis.



The results of a small trial of a new medication called Ocrelizumab were recently published in the journal, The Lancet. Ocrelizumab is essentially the same as the currently available medication, Rituximab (although not FDA-approved for MS). Because of how it is made, however, Ocrelizumab may be better tolerated during the intravenous infusion. The effectivenss seems promising in this small study but there have also been significant safety concerns with this medication, including a death....


Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons that make progressive disease difficult to clinically study in a rigorous manner: 1. For one, there are poor animal models of progressive disease, which makes doing basic laboratory research challenging. Dr. Mueller in our lab is working on such an animal model. 2. It’s also very difficult to measure the worsening in progressive disease because there are no biomarkers for progression and our outcome measures are not very good. The outcomes in...


I have to start by saying that every patient with MS is different so you really do need to speak to your doctor. Fingolimod (Gilenya) was approved about one year ago. There were some safety concerns in the trial including two fatal infections in a higher dose and multiple low-grade cancers in the currently available dose so we have been cautious about its use. However, no new safety concerns have arisen in the year since it has been on the market. The phase III trials for teriflunomide and...


Despite the unusual weather this weekend, we had a great patient symposium this year!!! We want to thank everyone that came out and participated. A special commendation to our symposium committee, especially Dr. Williams, for organizing this spectacular event. Over the next week or two, we will be posting questions and answers that came up during the event on the website as well as answers to some patient questions that we didn't have time for.


Phase III results for another emerging oral medication for MS were presented at ECTRIMS this weekend. The DEFINE trial evaluated the use of dimethyl fumarate (also known as BG-12) versus placebo in patients with MS. The study met the primary endpoint of a reduction in relapse rate as well as multiple MRI endpoints. The safety profile of this medication seems to be very good. Below is a link to an article with a nice summary of the results.



The New England Journal of Medicine has published results of the phase III teriflunomide trial (this center was not involved in this trial). Teriflunomide is a new oral medication developed to treat MS. The phase III data, in 1088 relapsing-remitting MS patients, is encouraging in that this medication showed a significant reduction in relapse rate and MRI endpoints over placebo (sugar pill). Importantly, the saftey profile of this drug is also encouraging. This drug is not yet been approved...


Please help us welcome our two new IMSMP nurses, Kamelle Neckles and Dorothy 'Dot' Kurdyla!! They will be buddying up with a senior nurse for the next few weeks. We're sure that they will make a great addition to our staff.


Dr. Stephen Kanter gave Grand Rounds this week, in which he spoke about 'Outcomes Measures for Patients with MS'. The excellent lecture focused on ways of monitoring patients disease activity with physical therapy and identifying and meeting goals of physical therapy for individual patients.



Dr. Sadiq was the speaker at journal club this week. He presented the article: "Intravenous gammaglobulin suppresses inflammation through a novel Th2 pathway". The discussion focused on the mechanism of action of IVIg in autoimmune diseases. IVIg, which is a blood product of pooled immunoglobulins, is a treatment for various autoimmune diseases including MS, however it is not FDA approved for the treatment of MS.



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