Thursday, August 14, 2008

MBP8298 (BioMS) (RRMS trial) - World-Class MS Information At The Touch Of A Button

World-Class MS Information At The Touch Of A Button
People affected by the debilitating neurological condition multiple sclerosis (MS) now have world-class information at their fingertips thanks to a UK first by the MS Society. The charity, which is the largest of its kind supporting people affected by MS, has created an online library of the thousands of books, journals, papers and magazines that it has in its collection, searchable from anywhere with an internet connection.

Appendix 4E and Annual Financial Report
Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney,New South Wales,Australia
ATL1102 licensed to global pharmaceutical company Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd Successful ATL1102 Phase IIa MS trial; > Teva confirmed their ...
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Opexa Therapeutics Completes $3 Million Financing
MarketWatch - USA
Opexa will use the proceeds from the financing to support the ongoing clinical development of Tovaxin, the company's novel treatment for multiple sclerosis. ...
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Wednesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International ...
FinFacts Ireland - Ireland
The split has been discussed for some time but has gained importance in the past fortnight following renewed safety concerns over multiple sclerosis drug ...
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Stress: Learning to say no crucial to survival

MBP8298 (BioMS) (RRMS trial)

BioMS Medical announces positive interim analysis on phase III ...
MarketWatch - USA
MAESTRO-01 is a multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of dirucotide (MBP8298) in patients with ...
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BioMS Medical Announces Second Quarter 2008 Results
MarketWatch - USA
(x) MINDSET-01: A phase II clinical trial evaluating MBP8298 (dirucotide) for the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). The randomized, double-blind ...
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MS drug may work against viral infection - US study
Reuters - USA
Low doses of the drug FTY720, also called fingolimod, given to mice once a day for three days eliminated an infection by a virus that can cause meningitis, ...
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Immune paradox could help treat Aids - United Kingdom
His team turned to an experimental drug called FTY720, also known as fingolimod, which prevents white blood cells from leaving lymph nodes. ...
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Trapping white blood cells proves novel strategy against chronic ...
EurekAlert (press release) - Washington,DC,USA
His team turned to an experimental drug called FTY720, which prevents white blood cells from leaving lymph nodes. FTY720, also known as fingolimod, ...
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Multiple Sclerosis

In the Spotlight

from Julie Stachowiak, Ph.D.
The whole thing is pretty confusing, honestly. There is information about how excellent essential fatty acids are, then you look into it a little and find out that omega-6 is kind of a bad guy (because we already get too much) and omega-3 is a hero. Following that path leads you into the murky waters of mercury levels in fish and potentially problematic supplements.

Say you have weeded through all of that and have a pretty good understanding of the whole thing. Multiple sclerosis (MS) throws us a curveball, as it turns out maybe we don't process omega-6 as well and some think it would help us.

I put my overtaxed, overheated neurons to work to try and decode this for myself and for you. I hope it gives a little clarity. Take care of yourselves, my friends.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Multiple Sclerosis
Most people have heard of omega-3 essential fatty acids for heart health. For those of us with multiple sclerosis (MS), our ears perk up when we hear about omega-3 fatty acids also contributing to "brain health." There are even some books and experts that claim that omega-3s can reverse our MS disease progression and lessen our MS symptoms. So, what is the deal?

Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids and Multiple Sclerosis
There is great controversy surrounding omega-6 fatty acids, as most people get too much in relation to their omega-3 fatty acid intake. However, there is some indication that people with MS do not process it as well, leading to lower levels than in people without MS.

Some experts argue that it would be good for people with MS to add more dietary sources of omega-6 to their diets. Others argue that the evidence is just not there, and it should be avoided because of potential negative health consequences.

Read the full article: Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids and Multiple Sclerosis: Are Omega-6 EFAs Harmful or Helpful for People with MS?

Get a Handicapped Parking Placard
I like to remind everyone with MS of this option every so often. Even if you can walk. Even if you feel fine today. Even if you don't want to "give in." I urge you to just go ahead and get "a tag" - no one is saying that you have to use it all the time (or ever). However, a time may come where it may be one of the handiest things that you have in your glove compartment.

Read the full article: Get a Handicapped Parking Placard

More Topics


MS in focus milestone

We are delighted that downloads of our free magazine have passed the one million mark, highlighting its continued popularity among professionals working in MS and people with MS around the world.

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Research News

Dose comparison trial of sustained-release fampridine in multiple sclerosis

In this preliminary multicenter placebo-controlled study, the experimental new oral treatment fampridine was tested in people with MS. Although it was safe, only minor clinical improvements were observed.

authors: Goodman AD, Brown TR, Cohen JA, Krupp LB, Schapiro R, Schwid SR, Cohen R, Marinucci LN, Blight AR; For the Fampridine MS-F202 Study Group.

source: Neurology. 2008 Jul 30.

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Prognostic factors after a first attack of inflammatory CNS demyelination in children

Children who have an episode of inflammation of the brain sometimes go on to develop MS, but not always. This study investigated which risk factors were important in predicting further episodes. They found that MRI appearances and the number of different areas of the nervous system involved were important. Some features which were previously thought to suggest a low likelihood of developing MS were not found to be good predictors in this study.

authors: Neuteboom RF, Boon M, Catsman Berrevoets CE, Vles JS, Gooskens RH, Stroink H, Vermeulen RJ, Rotteveel JJ, Ketelslegers IA, Peeters E, Poll-The BT, De Rijk-Van Andel JF, Verrips A, Hintzen RQ.

source: Neurology. 2008 Jul 30.

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Is in utero early-exposure to interferon beta a risk factor for pregnancy outcomes in multiple sclerosis?

In this small retrospective study the authors investigated the effect of interferon on children from mothers with MS who had accidentally taken it at the start of their pregnancy. They found that these children had slightly lower birth weights but did not report any other serious side effects.

authors: Patti F, Cavallaro T, Lo Fermo S, Nicoletti A, Cimino V, Vecchio R, Laisa P, Zarbo R, Zappia M.

source: J Neurol. 2008 Jul 28.

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Perivascular spaces - MRI marker of inflammatory activity in the brain?

The authors of this study found a relationship between small spaces surrounding blood vessels in the brain, which are normally present in all people, and inflammation of the brain that occurs in people with MS. This finding may help us to better understand these inflammatory processes.

authors: Wuerfel J, Haertle M, Waiczies H, Tysiak E, Bechmann I, Wernecke KD, Zipp F, Paul F.

source: Brain. 2008 Aug 1.

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Efficacy and safety of a hip flexion assist orthosis in ambulatory multiple sclerosis patients

In this uncontrolled trial a group of people with MS who had weakness in one leg were invited to use a device to stabilise the hip. Significant improvements in strength, pain and gait were observed over 12 weeks.

authors: Sutliff MH, Naft JM, Stough DK, Lee JC, Arrigain SS, Bethoux FA.

source: Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Aug;89(8):1611-7.

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No effect of preterm birth on the risk of multiple sclerosis: a population based study

The pathology of MS is complex and environmental factors play a role. In this population based study, the authors looked for any possible relationship between preterm birth and risk of developing MS. They found no relationship at all.

authors: Ramagopalan S, Valdar W, Dyment D, Deluca G, Orton SM, Yee I, Criscuoli M, Ebers G, Sadovnick D.

source: BMC Neurol. 2008 Aug 1;8(1):30.

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Immune modulation and increased neurotrophic factor production in multiple sclerosis patients treated with testosterone

In this small study the effect of testosterone in the immune system of men with MS was investigated. There were some changes in the immune cells and the authors suggested that further studies should be done.

authors: Gold SM, Chalifoux S, Giesser BS, Voskuhl RR.

source: J Neuroinflammation. 2008 Jul 31;5(1):32.

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JA Brunberg for the Expert Panel on Neurologic Imaging
AJNR (subscription) - IL,USA
Ataxia is common in early and late multiple sclerosis. MR findings have been reviewed. 17 Dandy Walker Syndrome, with ataxia, nystagmus, cranial nerve ...
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MS News

Summaries of MS news from websites around the world.

Profile of the Month : August 2008

Jim Wolfgang

Country: Canada

Age: 75
Occupation: Retired Union Representative
Type of MS: Primary progressive
Year of diagnosis: 1976
I have seen many positive changes in the way governments at every level in Canada have responded to people with MS; however, we still have a long way to go.
Read the full article here:

English Espanol Italiano Francais Deutsch Русский

Latin American photography auction to raise money for Argentinian MS Society

source: Esclerosis Múltiple Argentina

More than 100 photographers from 11 different countries in Latin America are taking part in the auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to Esclerosis Múltiple .Argentina (EMA).

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Rare Case Suggests Immune Control of HIV Possible
BALTIMORE -- Those HIV-positive patients who fight off the virus for years probably do so because of the innate power of their immune system, researchers here said. full story


A 1-in-a-100 Investor
Motley Fool - USA
Second, it reported two new cases of a rare but often deadly brain disease associated with its MS-treating drug Tysabri. And third, a Massachusetts state ...
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EU watchdog assessing Tysabri brain disease
Hemscott - London,UK
Tysabri was withdrawn from the market in 2005 after three patients developed PML. It returned in 2006 but the latest cases may prompt physicians to reduce ...
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Elan seeks quick sale of EDT
Ireland Digital - UK
Shares in the drugmaker have slumped since concerns were raised about its multiple sclerosis treatment, Tysabri, which has been linked to cases of brain ...
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Elan hoping to offload EDT quickly - Ireland
... following recent renewed safety concerns over multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri and disappointment with tests of an experimental Alzheimer's therapy. ...
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Icahn Ups Biogen Idec Stake to 6 Percent—Bought Big on Tysabri Woes
Xconomy - Cambridge,MA,USA
... reported that two multiple sclerosis patients taking their drug Tysabri had developed the rare and often fatal brain infection progressive multifocal ...
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Bids for embattled Elan arm pitch value of unit at $1.4bn
Irish Independent - Dublin,Ireland
The pharmaceutical firm, which saw its shares plummet recently on the back of two new cases of a potentially deadly brain disease linked with its Tysabri ...
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Q&A: Sarcoidosis
Jackson Clarion Ledger - Jackson,MS,USA
Several drugs such as chlorambucil (Leukeran), azathioprine (Imuran), methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), ...
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Placebo Effect May Be Doubled in Children
MedPage Today - Little Falls,NJ,USA
All told, they found 32 studies, five in children, that evaluated five different drugs: gabapentin (Neurontin), levetiracetam (Keppra), ...
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Dr. Myles

Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology at the University of Alberta

View BIO

Q :

I am scheduled for surgery and I have decided to start taking a disease modifying therapy. The surgery will be in a month and I will be starting the therapy tomorrow. Is there any risk I should be worried about when having surgery and being on therapy or should I wait until after my surgery to start it?

A :

There is no contraindication to having surgery while on any of the MS disease modifying therapies. The currently available injection therapies work as immunomodulatory, rather than immunosuppressive therapies, meaning they modulate the immune attack occurring from the MS to reduce relapses but they do not weaken your overall immune system. Therefore you are not at increased risk of infection around the time of your surgery.

There is no known interaction with anesthetics that might be given during surgery or with post-operative pain medications or anti-nausea drugs. While you may have to go without eating and drinking around the time of surgery, since the MS disease modifying therapies are given by injection, this should not impact your MS medication. It would probably be wise to avoid injecting near your surgical incision, not because there would necessarily be any harm, but because it would probably be uncomfortable, and if there was redness or swelling from the injection, it might make your surgeon concerned that there was a problem from the surgery.

If you are on an interferon I would also recommend getting your first set of follow-up labs (one month post-interferon labs) done before you enter the hospital. That way if there is a mild lab abnormality from surgery (depending on what type of surgery) or from medications you are given in hospital, it would be possible to distinguish it from a side effect of your MS medication.

When someone on one of the MS disease modifying therapies goes into hospital for any reason, they will need to take their own medication for their injections (the nurses can store it) and their physician will need to write an order stating that they have their permission to administer the medication in the hospital (this is usually a strict hospital rule, no matter how long someone has been on their medication).

Occasionally a surgeon will even want a brief note from the individual’s neurologist explaining that it is okay to proceed with surgery. It would be best for you to contact your surgeon’s office beforehand to confirm whether or not he/she will need any information from your neurologist and confirming that it will be okay for you to continue to administer your MS medication in hospital (a reminder may be necessary when the admission orders are written too).

Finally, it would probably be worthwhile to confirm with your neurologist that they are comfortable with you starting therapy before your surgery, or whether they feel you should wait until the surgery is over and you are recovering, just in case there are any specific concerns about your individual situation.
8/13/2008 10:01:19 PM

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 |

Neurology / Neuroscience News

Brain Tumour Origin Identified
Australian and American scientists have identified the origins of the most malignant type of brain tumour in a discovery that could lead to better therapies and improve our understanding of how tumours initiate. 12 Aug 2008

CSHL Neuroscientists Glimpse How The Brain Decides What To Believe
It has probably happened to everyone at one time or another. You're driving to a restaurant for the very first time. At a crossroads, you make a turn. You drive for several minutes, and then several minutes more. 12 Aug 2008

Childhood Brain Tumor Traced To Normal Stem Cells Gone Bad
An aggressive childhood brain tumor known as medulloblastoma originates in normal brain "stem" cells that turn malignant when acted on by a known mutant, cancer-causing oncogene, say researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). 12 Aug 2008

New Insight Into Most Common Forebrain Malformation
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have identified one of the molecular mechanisms underlying the genetic brain malformation called holoprosencephaly (HPE). The findings not only yield insights into the most common developmental malformation of the anterior brain and face in newborns, but also help in understanding the intricate process by which the brain forms in the developing fetus. 12 Aug 2008

UC San Diego Studies Mother's Milk For Tiny Babies
"Breast is best" is a mantra every new mom hears with when it comes to feeding her newborn. Human milk is known to boost brain development, prevent life-threatening infections, decrease allergies, and promote stronger bones and a higher IQ. 12 Aug 2008
Physical Frailty May Be Linked To Alzheimer's Disease

Physical Frailty May Be Linked To Alzheimer's Disease
Physical frailty, which is common in older persons, may be related to Alzheimer's disease pathology, according to a study published in the August 12, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. 12 Aug 2008

Gene's Effect On Height May Change Tumor Treatment
A mutation that causes a childhood tumor syndrome also impairs growth hormone secretion, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found.The discovery provides new insights into an old mystery, revealing why patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 are frequently shorter than their peers. 12 Aug 2008

Yale Researchers Discover Tiny Cellular Antennae Trigger Neural Stem Cells
Yale University scientists reported evidence suggesting that the tiny cilia found on brain cells of mammals, thought to be vestiges of a primeval past, actually play a critical role in relaying molecular signals that spur creation of neurons in an area of the brain involved in mood, learning and memory.

CA residents to get renewed health coverage

By Anne Zieger
About 3,400 California consumers whose individual policies were improperly revoked will soon get invitations to rejoin their health plan. The letters are being sent out as part of a batch of settlements recently announced between the state's Department of Managed Health Care and a handful of health insurers. Health plans issuing the letters include Health Net, Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente and PacifiCare, which have reached settlements over their rescission practices that included fines totaling $14 million.

The Department of Managed Health Care has ordered health plans to provide the agency with contact information for hundreds of members with rescinded policies to make sure that the members do indeed get their notices. Meanwhile, the DMHC, the state attorney general's office and health literacy experts have reviewed the noticed to make sure they'll be easily understood by consumers.

What's noteworthy, however, is that despite the fines and reinstatement of consumers, California health plans have not generally conceded that post-facto rescissions are are illegal. Most have gone into settlements screaming loudly that they'd violated no laws, despite the DMHC's firm conviction that they had. All told, it seems that even with laws on the books with arguably ban rescissions for innocent mistakes on applications, the practice is far from dead. There's more controversy to come on this issue, without a doubt.

To learn more about the reinstatements:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece

Related Articles:

WellPoint pays hospitals $11.8M to settle bills from rescissions

BC of California fined $1M for cancellations

Kaiser forced to reinstate coverage

Blue Cross of California settles plan-cancellation suits

States aren't reporting Medicaid provider sanctions

By Anne Zieger

A new report from the HHS inspector general's office suggests that states are routinely failing to report when they sanction health providers participating in the Medicaid program. When providers are suspended or excluded from participation in a Medicaid program, or sanctioned in some other way by a state Medicaid agency for fraud, incompetence or other problems, they're subject to a permissive exclusion by the IG's office. State Medicaid agencies are supported to report these actions against providers promptly to the IG's office whenever the agency takes final action.

However, this doesn't usually happen. In its report, the IG's office found that about two-thirds of providers, or 61 percent of the 4,319 sanctions imposed by state Medicaid agencies in 2004 and 2005, weren't reported for inclusion in the exclusions database. Interestingly, the two states that took final actions against the largest number of providers--New York and Florida--had two of the lowest match rates with the exclusions database, or about 21 percent and 9 percent respectively.
To learn more about the report:
- read this Modern Healthcare report (reg. req.)

Study: Some safety-net hospitals putting income over mission

By Anne Zieger

In today's brutally-competitive hospital marketplace, every hospital has to focus on finding profitable services to deliver and minimizing bad debt. Unfortunately, being profit-driven can sometimes conflict with a hospital's mission. This is especially the case for safety-net hospitals, according to a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change. The study, which appears in Health Affairs, concludes that efforts like specialty-service marketing and new construction could compromise the hospitals' other efforts. Overall, safety-net hospitals aren't as financially healthy as an average hospital (which, given the state of the industry, is a sad commentary). About one-third of all safety-net hospitals lost money in 2005, according to the study's authors, who tracked 12 regions for over a decade.

Many safety-net hospitals have gone the route of Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, which has built out its campus and aggressively advertised "centers of emphasis" like neurosciences, orthopedic reconstructive procedures and spinal surgery. Execs there say they need 40 percent of their patients to be commercially-insured to stay financially viable, and that pushing higher-end services like these helps them to stay afloat where others have failed. Meanwhile, Harborview has taken some steps to limit transfers of uninsured patients, something the study's authors say subjects patients to a "wallet biopsy."
To learn more about this study:
- read this piece from The Seattle Times

Related Articles:
Study: Uninsured cancer patients die sooner

New Jersey hospitals losing charity care funding

Stem cells

CSL to acquire Talecris Biotherapeutics for $3.1B
SmartBrief - Washington,DC,USA
... access to Talecris' Gamunex and Prolastin -- plasma products used in patients with immune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis. ...
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Pluristem's PLX-MS Shows Potential Benefit In The Prevention Of ...
Medical News Today (press release) - UK
... today announced that the Company's PLacental eXpanded (PLX-MS) cells have demonstrated in vivo efficacy in the prevention of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). ...
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UCB and Galapagos ink research deal; Acrux gains access to late ...
FierceBiotech - Washington,DC,USA
Story > BioTime has licensed stem cell technology from Advanced Cell Technology. Report > Australian scientists, who have been studying a key protein that ...
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Politicker NH - NH,USA
... importance of expanding stem cell research. At the roundtable, Shaheen met with families and children who are affected by Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes, ...
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