New Blood Test Predicts Who Will Benefit From Interferons

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New Blood Test Predicts Who Will Benefit From Interferons

Postby mrsilkykat » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:15 pm

A simple blood test is now available to predict who will and who will not benefit by using Interferons. No more guess work. No more trying to figure out will it work for me, which one will work, is it working or not.

Ask your neurologist about this.

The underlines are mine. It's pretty extraordinary that the test is currently available but "more study is needed" Ask your doctor now.

This is from Bloomberg.com. I'll try to get the specific address & post it later.

SilkyKat


Test Predicts Which Patients Benefit From $6 Billion MS Drugs

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By Rob Waters

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- Multiple sclerosis drugs from Biogen Idec Inc., Merck KGaA and Bayer AG with sales of $6.1 billion work for fewer than 3 in 4 patients and a test can predict which ones, a study found.

Researchers at Stanford University analyzed mice with an induced disorder similar to MS and blood samples saved from humans with the disease. They found two different subtypes of disease, each driven by excess activity of a different set of infection-fighting immune cells. Only the patients with one sub- type responded to the MS drugs known as beta interferons.
In MS, the body attacks itself, damaging the insulation that protects nerve cells and disrupting their ability to transmit electrical impulses and move muscles. About 2.5 million people worldwide have the disease. The study, published today in the journal Nature, reveals why beta interferons, widely used drugs that suppress immune-system activity, don’t work for everyone.

“A lot of people are taking beta interferons who should not be and it may make them actually worse,” Lawrence Steinman, a neurology professor at Stanford University near Palo Alto, California, said in a March 25 telephone interview. “We found a simple test in the blood that predicts who will and will not respond to beta-interferon.”

The test measures blood levels of IL1 and of IL17, the two immune cells Steinman and his colleagues linked to different forms of the disease. Patients whose disease is driven by IL1 respond to beta interferon drugs while patients with IL17-linked disease don’t, Steinman said.

Likely Responders

“This information could allow us to better select a group of people who are likely to respond in the first place and to optimize use of the drug,” said Dean Wingerchuk, a professor of neurology and vice-chair of research at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. “It’s the first step toward identification of objective biomarkers that would lead to the goal of personalized therapy.”

The leading beta interferons on the market are Avonex from Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen with 2009 sales of $2.3 billion; Rebif, from Merck KGaA, based in Darmstadt, Germany, with $2.1 billion in sales and Betaferon, by Bayer AG of Leverkusen, Germany, which had $1.7 billion in sales in 2008, the last year for which revenue figures were available.

Biogen markets the MS drug Tysabri with Dublin-based Elan Corp. and sells Fampridine-SR, made by Hawthorne, New York-based Acorda Therapeutics Inc., outside the U.S. Biogen strives to offer a range of options for multiple sclerosis patients, said spokeswoman Naomi Aoki, in a March 24 telephone interview.

‘Personalized Approach’

“We’re excited about the prospect of taking a more personalized approach to identifying patients who are most likely to respond to different therapies, including beta interferons,” Aoki said.

A test that identifies likely non-responders to beta interferon drugs may boost prescribing for the leading MS drug, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.’s Copaxone, said Denise Bradley, a company spokeswoman, in a March 24 e-mail. Copaxone had sales of $2.4 billion in 2009. Petah Tikva, Israel-based Teva is working to develop tests that predict patients who will respond to Copaxone, she said.

Beta interferons are genetically engineered copies of naturally occurring proteins approved for patients whose MS doesn’t keep them from walking, according to the Mayo Clinic Web site. While the medications can slow progression of the disease, they don’t reverse existing damage and haven’t been shown to prevent disability, Wingerchuk said.

While doctors may use the blood tests to guide prescribing, more study is needed to validate the findings before they become part of routine practice, said Steinman, the study author. Further research also will be needed before regulators allow drugmakers to recommend the test in prescribing information, he said.

Still, Steinman said, “the test is likely to become a standard. It looks like a biological truth.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Waters in San Francisco at rwaters5@bloomberg.net
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Postby jackiejay » Wed May 05, 2010 9:38 am

I don't think this test is available yet or is it?
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Postby mrsilkykat » Wed May 05, 2010 7:51 pm

JJ,

I only know what I posted from Bloomberg News. From what I read there, it's available. If I were you I would bring this to my neurologist and ask for the test. See what he/she says. I'm on Tysabri, so this doesn't affect me. But I'll bring the paper tomorrow when I go for my infusion and leave it with her.
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Postby jackiejay » Thu May 06, 2010 4:39 am

sounds like this test would be given before they prescribe....if you've been on one of the interferons for 6+ years and are doing fine......would it still be wise to take the test......because i'm not convinced that the interferon is doing anything and there are side effects......can the test show that you are on the right track after already being on the drugs?....
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Postby mrsilkykat » Thu May 06, 2010 10:50 am

JJ,

I wish I could definitely answer your questions.

If I were on the Interferons or thinking about them, I would most definitely pursue this. It sounds like the blood test is available although it also sounds like Teva is still developing a test. If your neuro isn't helpful, I would get in touch with Teva. Also, the NMSS may have some info on it. Also google "interferon blood test".

There isn't any indication that being on the Interferons would change the results of the test. But again, this is a news story, not a scientific paper.

I was on Copaxone for 5 years & never knew how much good it was doing because I was still having exacerbations. If you're having relapses, definitely puirsue this with your neuro or consider getting another neuro.

Sorry I'm not more helpful.
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Re: New Blood Test Predicts Who Will Benefit From Interferon

Postby lovebug » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:54 pm

Does anybody know if this blood test is available in Canada yet??
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Re: New Blood Test Predicts Who Will Benefit From Interferon

Postby lovebug » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:32 pm

Has anybody heard anything more on this topic?
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Re: New Blood Test Predicts Who Will Benefit From Interferon

Postby lovebug » Thu May 16, 2013 7:42 pm

Does anybody have any new information to add here on this topic?
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