Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Viral infection hope
ChronicleLive - Newcastle upon Tyne,England,UK
The drug, FTY720, works by trapping the immune system’s white blood cells in the lymph nodes. Scientists found that low doses of the drug actually boosted ...

Selective Killing of Autoimmune Cells Suggests Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes
BOSTON -- Laboratory studies of type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases show that boosting levels of tumor necrosis factor or its receptor activity selectively destroys autoreactive T cells, suggesting a possible cure for the diseases, investigators here reported. full story


NIH - Research Matters - Protein Plays Role in Preventing Autoimmunity
Aug 25, 2008 ... Eliminating a protein called furin from immune cells in mice can lead to development of autoimmune disease, a new study reports. ...

Mechanism That Controls the Development of Autoimmunity
What they discovered was that mice without furin in these cells developed systemic autoimmune... disease. This means that the immune systems of the mice


Biogen (BIIB): A 'dirt cheap' biotech bet
BloggingStocks - USA
"Tysabri has succeeded in the marketplace because it is a superior treatment for MS -- and the patients who use it agree, despite its high cost of $30000 ...

FDA seeks changes on labelling for Tysabri
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert saying it is working with Biogen Idec and Elan Corp to change the product labelling for Tysabri
read more

FDA seeks changes on labelling for Tysabri
26 August 2008
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert saying it is working with Biogen Idec and Elan Corp to change the product labelling for Tysabri.
The agency’s move is unsurprising after the firms reported two new cases of the rare brain disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in Europe in patients with multiple sclerosis taking Tysabri (natalizumab) as monotherapy. The agency confirmed that these are the first cases of PML that have been reported following the drug’s re-appearance on the market in June 2006.
However, the FDA said it "still believes that Tysabri monotherapy may confer a lower risk of PML than when Tysabri is used together with other immunomodulatory medications”. It also noted that no new cases have been seen in the USA, where about 3,300 patients have received the drug for at least one and a half years.
Meantime, a number of private equity firms are interested in making a bid for Elan’s drug delivery unit. Bain Capital has emerged as a potential buyer for Elan Drug Technologies and Reuters has reported that Warburg Pincus may also make an offer.
The sale of EDT is expected to bring in up to $1.4 billion for Elan, which has seen its shares collapse of late over mixed results for its Alzheimer's drug candidate bapineuzumab, being co-developed with Wyeth, as well as its Tysabri problems. Other bidders mentioned in dispatches include Texas Pacific Group, Cinven, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
By Kevin Grogan
Latest forum comments
"The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert saying it is working with Biogen Idec and E.."
Read more and comment in the forums

Gloucestershire pensioner has to pay for vital drugs
Evening Post - Bristol,England,UK
... for those who live with them as cancer (such as – to name but a few – motor neurone disease, heart failure and primary progressive multiple sclerosis). ...

Study Highlights Link Between Vitamin D And Multiple Sclerosis
Medical News Today Sat, 23 Aug 2008 4:15 AM PDT
Vitamin D, the principal regulator of calcium in the body, may prevent the production of malignant cells such as breast and prostate cancer cells and protect against specific autoimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis (MS) according to an article by Sylvia Christakos, PhD, of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.

Study Highlights Link Between Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis
Newswise Fri, 22 Aug 2008 12:31 PM PDT
Vitamin D, the principal regulator of calcium in the body, may prevent the production of malignant cells such as breast and prostate cancer cells and protect against specific autoimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis.

MS Answers

Symptoms and Management

Dr. Marrie

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba

View BIO

Q :

I am wondering if MS can cause severe joint pain, or if a person can have Lupus and MS at the same?

A :

Multiple sclerosis does not directly cause severe joint pain. Joint pain could occur if you develop spasticity or weakness which alters the position of the joint, or the amount of support around the joint. Strictly speaking, lupus and MS should not co-exist. Other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout can co-exist with MS. Talk with your GP abut this pain to rule out non-MS causes of joint pain.
8/26/2008 6:47:51 AM
More answers from Dr. Ruth Anne Marrie
More answers in the category: Symptoms and Management

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 | www.mssociety.ca


Family Issues

Dr. Kalb

Dr. Kalb

Director of the Professional Resource Center at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in New York City, NY

View BIO

  • Q :
  • My father has been living with MS for 10 years and is noticeably disabled. I have recently been diagnosed and I am concerned about how to explain it to my 4 year old and 2 year old. The 4 year old understands that mommy is sick, but I do not want him to associate it with how sick Papa is. How do I explain all of this to him without scaring him even more than he already is? Would it be best simply not name it for now and let them grow into the understanding when they are older that mommy and Papa have the same thing?
  • A :

    You mention that your 4-year-old knows that “mommy is sick,” but you didn’t describe what kinds of symptoms you’re having at this time. In order to help your kids understand what’s going on without scaring them unnecessarily, I would recommend the following strategies:
    • First, remember that your two children probably have very different needs at this time. Although your 4-year-old may have some questions and worries about your health, your 2-year-old may not be interested in any of this for a while yet. So I would start by talking with your older child first, and then have separate conversations with your younger one as he or she begins to ask questions or show concerns.
    • Rather than talking with your kids about being “sick,” explain any symptoms or problems you are having that they can see or that interfere with your daily activities, and describe what you are doing to try and make them better. For example, if fatigue is your primary problem, you might explain that you get very tired sometimes and need to rest more than you used to. If you’re having trouble with your vision right now, you could describe how your vision is affected and that you’re taking medication or wearing an eye patch or reading large print books until it gets better. If you’re having difficulty walking, you could explain that your leg isn’t feeling very strong right now and the cane is helping you keep your balance. By talking about specific challenges and the strategies you are using to manage them, you will limit your children’s fears and reassure them that you’re taking good care of yourself.
    • Let the kids know that you have MS like Papa, but that everyone’s MS is different. If you don’t share this information with them, you run the risk that they will hear it from someone else—and it’s always better and more reassuring for children to hear important information from mom or dad. Since all children worry when a parent becomes ills or disabled, you can also reassure them that you’ll always love and take care of them.
    • While it’s important to answer your children’s questions openly and honestly, there’s no reason to overwhelm them with too much information at any one time. Be prepared to start simply and add more detail as they grow older and their questions become more complex.
    Check out the available resources for children:
    MS Society of Canada Resources:
    Parenting with Multiple Sclerosis: How parents with MS – and their kids – adapt and get stronger.
    How to Talk about MS with Your Children This guide is a practical aid to help parents communicate better with their children about multiple sclerosis.
    Keep S'myelin, a resource for children of parents with MS, is a colourful activity book intended to help children find answers to questions about multiple sclerosis and talk with their family and friends about the changes MS can bring.
    Keep Your Balance! is a colourful publication for teens which includes basic information about MS and testimonies from teens who have a parent with MS.
    My Mommy has MS This booklet for pre-school children describes MS and its effects in an easy to understand manner.
    Benjamin: My Mum is Special This publication provides a view of MS through the eyes of a child struggling to understand his mother's mysterious and sometimes frightening illness.
    National MS Society resources:
    My Grampy Can’t Walk – a colorful storybook for young children by Vanita Oelschlager.
    • Timmy’s Journey—a DVD cartoon suitable for all ages that shares a little boy’s adventure learning about MS (available upon request from Kimberly Koch at
    8/26/2008 7:31:32 AM
    More answers from Dr. Rosalind Kalb
    More answers in the category: Family Issues


Newest drugs may prove out of reach Cost of potent treatments threatens to unravel health care
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat Sun, 24 Aug 2008 4:40 AM PDT
SEATTLE -- Sally Garcia, a 53-year-old lawyer disabled by multiple sclerosis, was torn.A new-generation medication, Copaxone, was really working for her.After two decades of being in and out of hospitals, Garcia was taking steps to work again


Let's Give Them Something to Talk About: Stem Cell Research Update ...
jewishinstlouis.org - St. Louis,MO,USA
... the second line of stem cells in the world and which is involved in researching treatment for Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Run, bridesmaids, run!
Aurora Beacon News - Aurora,IL,USA
The entry fee was waived, but donations were taken for multiple sclerosis research. "My father suffers from that condition, so it's dear to my heart," ...

Health plans upset when employers help pay high deductibles

By Anne Zieger
By Anne Zieger

High-deductible health plans have been an extremely trendy idea of late, with the assumption being that consumers would use services more cautiously if they had to pay first-dollar coverage on their own. However, some employers have been muddying the waters a bit by buying high-deductible plans, then helping employees with the deductibles through their own payouts or added insurance coverage. The combined package may be as much as 40 percent cheaper than traditional coverage, while offering comparable benefits, according to one estimate for a 40-person business based in California.

Employers like this approach, which brokers have fostered in an effort to win their business. But lately, some health plans have raised a stink over this model, which they say can push costs up substantially by taking away employees' incentive to overuse services. In fact, some California plans are so upset that they're asking employers to sign statements saying that they won't combine high-deductible plans with some types of self-insurance. Employers who won't sign could lose coverage. "Wrap-around schemes really run the risk of destroying lower-premium health products by driving up the price or making them go away completely," says Chris Ohman, president and CEO of the California Association of Health Plans.
To date, Blue Shield, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente and Anthem Blue Cross have sent letters to insurance brokers threatening them with termination of their contract and loss of commissions if they sell so-called "wrap-around" packages. I doubt they're the last.

.- read this Sacramento Business Journal piece


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