Response to Rainer: From what I hear from a friend who has MS and from the posts, the TEVA press release on Copaxone appears unduly optimistic, especially re side effects.
As a chemist with a strong interest in alternative medicine and supplements, I believe that ROS (reactive oxygen species) are one cause of MS (Chl pneum another ?) and a host of other inflammatory diseases and that ROS inhibitors like NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) have a place in prevention and treatment of these diseases.
Indeed Teva has a pending patent application, WO2006/029036, which essentially discloses the heretofore unpublished results of a clinical study of a combination therapy of Copax and NAC, commonly available at healthfood stores. According to their claims, the optimal dose appears to be 2.5 g NAC taken twice daily. Note this is an application or disclosure and it may not be issued as a formal patent. And even if it does, it would not prevent MS patients from buying their own NAC.
A competing Israeli company, Yissum, had filed an earlier application (WO2004/012652) which covers a broad range of NAC substances (but not NAC itself) acting like pro-drugs that more readily pass through the blood brain barrier (BBB) before conversion to NAC in the brain. Such patented pro-drugs may be more effective than NAC at lower doses. If this patent issues, it would allow Yissum to exclusively sell or license the NAC pro-drugs as independent or combination MS therapies.
Another patent application (WO2006/032053) claims effectiveness of calciferol or calcitriol Vitamin D substances in reducing fatigue and relapses when taken by itself or in combination with Copax. Vita D dose range is 0.003 to 80 mg per week (IV or oral?)