Saturday, July 12, 2008

MS without the needles: New drug may simplify treatment

MS without the needles: New drug may simplify treatment
Greensboro News Record - Greensboro,NC,USA
The medicine under study, called laquinimod, is being given only to trial participants with the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. ...
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Five Years On, NHS Still Failing MS Patients
A survey of services for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) by the Royal College of Physicians' Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit (CEEu) and the MS Trust shows that the NHS is still failing to implement the 2003 NICE* guidelines on the management of MS patients.
Opexa's Phase IIb Study Of Tovaxin(R) Receives Positive Review From Data Safety Monitoring Board
Opexa Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OPXA), a company leading in the development of cell therapies for multiple sclerosis announced that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) overseeing the on-going Phase IIb clinical study of Tovaxin has recommended that the trial continue unmodified.

NHS Failing People With MS, UK
Medical News Today Fri, 11 Jul 2008 5:06 AM PDT
A report published by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the MS Trust states the NHS is failing people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The report identified that the estimated 85,000 people in the UK with MS are subject to a "postcode lottery", with access to basic services - including pain relief - a matter of geographical location.
Opexa's Phase IIb Study Of Tovaxin(R) Receives Positive Review From Data Safety Monitoring Board
Medical News Today Thu, 10 Jul 2008 4:05 PM PDT
Opexa Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OPXA), a company leading in the development of cell therapies for multiple sclerosis announced that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) overseeing the on-going Phase IIb clinical study of Tovaxin has recommended that the trial continue unmodified
Study: Caffeine could be helpful to prevent MS disease
People's Daily Thu, 10 Jul 2008 6:09 PM PDT
Mice exposed to caffeine were protected from developing symptoms of a disease similar to Multiple Sclerosis (MS), said a study by the Finnish and U.S. researchers on Wednesday. The researchers genetically modified mice so they would ...
MS Answers

Dr. Freedman

Professor of medicine in the field of neurology at the University of Ottawa, ON
View BIO

Q :
It seems like a lot of clinical trials take place in BC, Ontario or Quebec. Why aren’t trials taking place in other areas of Canada where there is an MS population that can support them?
A :
There are many factors that dictate where clinical trials are being run, but unfortunately one of them is not simply the incidence or prevalence of disease. Regardless of where the research is conducted, the results will benefit everyone if it helps to prove that a novel drug is effective for the disease. Clinical trials that are sponsored by industry sometime naturally drift to large population centres due to availability of sponsor-directed research teams and infrastructure, but investigator-driven studies, such as those supported by the MS Society of Canada, like the Canadian Collaborative Genetics project, take place in every major city, including Winnipeg. The Canadian bone marrow transplant study is being conducted in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, but patients anywhere in Canada are eligible. It may seem like there is a higher percentage of MS cases in Manitoba due to the lower population, but in fact there are not greater numbers of patients compared with other more populous provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, BC or Alberta.
7/12/2008 4:19:29 AM
More answers from Dr. Mark Freedman
More answers in the category: Research
For more information related to this topic, please click Research Page

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that this information does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MS Society of Canada, and is not intended as medical advice. For specific advice and opinion, always consult a physician.
© 2008 Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada |

Studying How Food Affects The Brain
In addition to helping protect us from heart disease and cancer, a balanced diet and regular exercise can also protect the brain and ward off mental disorders."Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain," said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has spent years studying the effects of food, exercise and sleep on the brain.

Shareholders overwhelmingly approve Biogen board
Washington Post - United States
N). Biogen, which sells multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex and Tysabri and the cancer drug Rituxan, denied the accusation.
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Great expectations for the stock market's star player
Irish Independent - Dublin,Ireland
The broker added that risks to its view and target price include any PML cases with Tysabri and disappointing details of the Bapineuzumab data at ICAD. ...
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Lovers of Zion
Ha'aretz - Tel Aviv,Israel
He specialized in neurology and is now at the University Hospital in Berlin, doing research on multiple sclerosis. He has visited Israel a number of times ...
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Fish Oil Can Save Your Vision
Stop Aging Now - Washington,DC,USA
By Gale Maleskey, MS, RD Getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids can help protect you from two of the most common causes of age-related vision loss: macular ...
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Live from Beijing
Washington Times - Washington,DC,USA
Montel Williams, whose talk show went out of production in March after 17 seasons on the air, is already shopping another show to syndicators, ...
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multiple sclerosis stem cells

Stemming the ravages of disease
Ottawa Citizen - Ontario, Canada
While the treatment is used for other diseases like multiple sclerosis and lupus, it is the first time a stem cell transplant has been used in Ottawa to ...
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Opexa's Phase IIb Study Of Tovaxin(R) Receives Positive Review ...
Medical News Today (press release) - UK
Opexa Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OPXA), a company leading in the development of cell therapies for multiple sclerosis announced that the Data Safety ...
See all stories on this topic

Dental stem cells could take bite out of illnesses
Eagle Tribune - North Andover,MA,USA
... to extract stem cells from dental pulp and are currently researching the use of these cells for illnesses such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis ...
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Dear Friend:

In follow up to your request, I am delighted to be able to keep you informed about the progress of the Fampridine-SR clinical program. We recently announced clinical results from our Phase 3 Study of Fampridine-SR in multiple sclerosis, and following is a link to the press release detailing those results.

As noted in the press release (, Acorda plans to meet with the FDA to discuss next steps for the Fampridine-SR program. Please remember that Fampridine-SR is still an investigational drug and we can’t predict whether or when it might receive FDA approval for use in people with multiple sclerosis.

We will continue to send you updates and announcements regarding this program as we have them. If you have any questions regarding the study, please call our toll-free at 888-950-2270, from 10 am to 5 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Thank you for your interest in Acorda Therapeutics and the Fampridine-SR program.

Best regards,



Betzabeth A. Pastor

Senior Communications Specialist

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.

15 Skyline Drive, Hawthorne, NY 10532

Phone:    914-347-4300 ext. 146

Toll-Free: 888-950-2270

Fax:        914-606-9560



Confidentiality Notice: This message and its attachments 
may contain privileged and/or confidential information and is
intended only for the individual or entity named in this
message. If you are not the intended recipient, you are
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distribution or use of information contained in this message is
strictly prohibited. If you received this message in error,
please notify the sender immediately by return email and
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your system. Thank you.

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Federal Focus

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MS Research Funding in the CDMRP

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are currently developing their spending bills for fiscal year 2009. The Society is again working this year to secure $15 million for MS research funding in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DoD).

The CDMRP program is funded annually through the Defense Appropriations bill. Last year, your efforts influenced Congress to include MS as a disease area eligible to compete for research funds through a sister program at the DoD called the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). We need your help to build on this success and secure specific funding for MS research in the CDMRP.

This spring, 27 Senators and 63 Representatives signed on in support of this increased investment in MS research.  Click here to send your Senators and Representative an e-mail asking them to support this important $15 million request for MS research funding in the CDMRP.

Many U.S. veterans have stories and symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and the DoD has a responsibility to fund research for diseases related to military service. This research would not only benefit our veterans, but would help move us closer to a world free of MS. It is imperative that members of Congress hear from their constituents about the importance of this funding.

Update on Broad Medicare Legislation

On Wednesday, July 9, the U.S. Senate passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (H.R. 6331) by a vote of 69-30. Among the 69 votes in favor was Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) who returned to the Capitol for the first time since his diagnosis of brain cancer nearly six weeks ago. The U.S. House of Representatives passed this legislation on Tuesday, June 24 with a vote of 355-59. Both chambers have achieved a margin wide enough to override a presidential veto.

Click here to find out how your senator voted. If your senator voted to support this legislation, call them to thank them and ask for their continued support to override an expected presidential veto.

The main focus of the bill is to prevent the looming 10.6% cut to physicians, who treat patients with Medicare. The bill also contains several other key provisions that are important to people living with MS such as:

  • to delay the DMEPOS competitive bidding program for 18 months;
  • to grant an 18-month extension of the outpatient rehabilitation therapy caps exceptions process until December 31, 2009; and,
  • the low-income programs that will help more people with Medicare living below or just above the poverty level ($867 per month for an individual) get help with their drug costs and medical bills.

Though this legislation passed the House and Senate, until it is signed into law the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will continue the current implementation of competitive bidding. This means that, unfortunately, the DMEPOS competitive bidding program will progress in the 10 initial cities, as planned. As of July 1, Medicare beneficiaries who require specific types of DME in these 10 initial cities will only be able to access their new equipment from a list of suppliers who have been approved by Medicare under this new program. This first round of implementation is taking place in the areas of: Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati and Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX; Kansas City, MO & KS; Miami and Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; and, Riverside, CA.

The good news for physicians is that the CMS chose to freeze payment rates in order to give the Senate a chance to vote and pass the bill prior to any cuts taking place. As a result, physicians will not experience a reduction in fees until July 15. Since the bill passed but is still waiting to be signed into law, this payment rate freeze will remain intact.

An additional provision that went into effect on July 1 limits the outpatient therapy caps exceptions process. While a $1,810 cap already exists on physical and speech therapy for 2008 and a separate $1,810 is in place for occupational therapy, there is currently an exceptions process that allows Medicare beneficiaries to apply for coverage of benefits beyond what Medicare will provide. MS is covered as an automatic exception. However, Congress has never written in law a permanent extension of the exceptions process. This means that every year the process expires unless Congress takes action to extend the deadline, and this current extension of exceptions expired on July 1, 2008. Since the bill passed, once it becomes law the exceptions process will be reinstated and extended until December 31, 2009.

The Medicare bill will now be sent to President Bush who has indicated that he will veto the bill. This means that our fight is not over and following the president's action we will call on you for further help.

House Passes the ADA Amendments Act

After months of intense and meaningful negotiations and discussions between the disability community, business and employer groups, members of Congress, and congressional staff, the House passed the ADA Amendments Act (H.R. 3195), formerly the ADA Restoration Act on June 25. The vote of 402-17 demonstrated an overwhelming interest by members of Congress for restoring protections under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) for people with disabilities and chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Since its enactment in 1990, the ADA has transformed our nation. One goal of the ADA is to protect people with disabilities from discrimination at work and in public life. Unfortunately, court decisions over the last decade excluded individuals who should have been covered under the ADA. These judicial restrictions block people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and bipolar disorder from seeking protections against employment discrimination under the ADA.

The ADA Amendments Act will help restore protections for people with disabilities by striking the right balance between protections for people with disabilities and the obligations and requirements of employers. In addition, the bill will reverse restrictive judicial decisions that have left people with multiple sclerosis unprotected from job discrimination.

The Society is excited about the vast support in the House for this bill. The Senate is still working on the bill, and it is anticipated that the bill will be voted on in the Senate this summer. Please stay tuned for upcoming advocacy opportunities as this bill moves forward.

Click here for more information on the ADA Amendments Act.

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