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New Research Uncovers First Oral Therapy For Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis

By Nikki Weingartner     Apr 19, 2008 in Health
An extension study out of Italy showed that nearly 70 percent of patients who took FTY720 (fingolimod) remained attack free for the 3-year study. Other approved therapies for Multiple Sclerosis are by IV infusion only.
The Novartis made drug, FTY720, showed very strong results in keeping Multiple Sclerosis (MS) with relapsing MS free from attacks, inflammation and free from new or enlarged lesions according to the scientific report.
MS is an autoimmune disease that suddenly attacks the Central Nervous System. The immune system attacks the protective layer, myelin sheath, around the nerve cells to the brain causing scar tissue to form (sclerosis) over the nerves. This interrupts normal brain transmissions with balance, sight, strength, vision, bowels and a host of others.
Relapsing remitting MS is when a diagnosed individual has “clearly defined” flare-ups and then periods of remission, where they are symptom free until the next bout.
The Phase II extension study involved 173 patients with relapsing MS over a three-year period. They received the study drug continuously over the study period. Patients took a once-a-day pill over the course of the study.
Study Finds
more than 67 percent of the participants remaining free of relapses after three years. In addition, the inflammatory activity associated with MS, as assessed by MRI scans, remained low, with 89 percent of patients free of disease activity and 75 percent of patients free of new or newly enlarged lesions.
Study author, Giancarlo Comi, MD of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy was quoted by the article as saying
"The first line treatments for MS, beta interferon and glatiramer acetate, reduce the relapse rate by only about 30 percent, so this is a significant development for people with MS,"
The research was presented in April at the American Academy of Neurology annual conference.
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