Here's a drug (Sanofi-aventis' HP184) in the early stages that might be helpful for MS and other conditions.
Tireless quest for a cure, Lorenzo-style
Globe & Mail - January 9, 2006...
Of particular interest is a drug called HP184, a sodium and potassium channel blocker that has been tested on spinal cord patients. When Jacob's parents brought the drug, made by Sanofi-aventis, to the attention of doctors, none had heard of it.
"They're very proactive, they were actually the ones who first told me about HP184, I didn't know about it until then," Jim Garbern, associate professor of neurology at Wayne State University School of Medicine, said in a telephone interview from Detroit.
But when Dr. Garbern, who specializes in PMD, heard about it, he immediately started to think of it as a potential treatment for PMD and more common diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Garbern said he is currently in talks with Sanofi-aventis to see if HP184 might help compensate for abnormalities in myelin.
"If animal studies are successful, the hope would be, we could know within a year," Dr. Garbern said. "And then we could probably pretty rapidly start testing it in human patients."
Jacob's parents want their son to be part of the research trial, provided the drug is safe. They would also like to obtain the drug, at some later time, under Health Canada's special access program.
Under that program, patients can, in some circumstances, get access to drugs before they have been licensed for approval.
"Although it is unusual to receive requests for products that are in earlier stages of development (pre-phase III) we will consider such requests if there is a good clinical rationale, data available to support the proposed use and no other regulatory option to provide access," Health Canada spokeswoman Jirina Vlk said.
Through a group called Jacob's Ladder, part of the Canadian Foundation for Control of Neurodegenerative Disease, they are trying to raise $100,000 (U.S.) -- the estimated cost to run the clinical trial on HP184. That amount will cover the testing on animals and help kick-start the study on patients afterward.
Today, Jacob attends Zareinu Educational Centre of Metropolitan Toronto, a Hebrew day school for children with special needs, located in Thornhill, north of Toronto.
There, he learns how to use a special switch, so he can communicate with others.
"If he doesn't get these tools, he's dependent on adults to read his mind," said Barbara Nash Fenton, his speech language pathologist at Zareinu. "I'm setting up an alerting device for him to say 'I need help.' "
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