Scientists in NZ say they have a cure!

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Scientists in NZ say they have a cure!

Postby noddlebean » Thu Mar 31, 2005 5:26 pm

Apparently this article was in Sundays paper in NZ?? Still trying to track it downand find some more info about it. Has anyone else heard anything about this? And no its not a bad aprll fools joke either :D

NZ Team in MS Breakthrough

(Sunday Star - Times; Wellington, New Zealand)

NEW ZEALAND scientists believe they may have discovered a cure for multiple sclerosis.

Scientists describe the findings as a breakthrough, but say it will be several years before the treatment is available.

In New Zealand, 4000 people have the disease, which usually strikes between the ages of 20 to 40, causing blurred vision, shaking, and numb fingers and toes.

Many patients are confined to wheelchairs, and ultimately the disease can be fatal.

But researchers at Wellington's Malaghan Institute have discovered a way to help the body cure itself of the disease.

The treatment has been proven in the laboratory and if it works in people, may spell an end to the debilitating disease.

"For us, it is fantastic," said Dr Thomas Backstrom, who leads the research team.

"I have never seen something like that and I would never have dreamed of it a year ago.

"It is a major breakthrough."

The scientists have discovered a way to kick-start the body's "good" immune or regulatory T cells into blocking the actions of other "aggressive" T cells and preventing the onset of MS.

Backstrom hoped that a drug company would begin clinical trials before the end of the year.

It would be several years before the treatment was available to the public.
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Postby carolsue » Thu Mar 31, 2005 7:52 pm

From their website http://www.malaghan.org.nz/

The article titled 'NZ Team in MS Breakthrough' that was in the previous edition of the Sunday Star Times generated a very supportive response, which also included current MS suffers enquiring about joining a clinical trial of the therapy.

We are very excited about the opportunities presented by the research breakthrough and feel that there is excellent potential for future development into a readily available therapy. However it is important to emphasise that at this stage our research discovery in MS has been shown in laboratory models of MS disease only.

At this stage the Malaghan Institute will not directly be undertaking clinical trials this year. We have yet to form a partnership with an organisation to take the discovery through the key phases of preclinical development. We will continue to release updates on our website regarding this research.

I am sorry we cannot offer the many patients a more tangible benefit at this stage. However, please be assured that we are doing our utmost to speed up this research to find a possible treatment or cure for MS.

It should also be mentioned that Professor John Fraser, University of Auckland, and Auckland UniServices are key collaborators in this most important research effort.
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Rumor of a cure

Postby treez » Fri Apr 01, 2005 5:04 am

I too ran into this article somewhere(?) while doing some searches in the last couple of days.

It was a single page article and was all by itself. I questioned its validity. I can't find the site I found it on again. Obviously, some of you ran across it too.

Followed carolsue's link, that is not where I had found it so the story is getting around.

One can only hope!


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Postby JFH » Sat Apr 02, 2005 1:33 am

Looks like the Kiwis are really very active. By googling "Dr Thamos Backstrom" and chasing thru a few links I came across this, dated July 2004, but didnt get any further:

New Hope for a Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
...

Associate Professor Geoffrey Krissansen, the Principal Investigator, and Senior Research Fellow Dr Jagat Kanwar, from the Faculty of Medical and Health Science’s Department of Molecular Medicine & Pathology undertook research to find ways to reduce damage to the brain and spinal cord.

...

“No one really knows why people develop MS, but it is thought that exposure to a virus in early adolescence triggers the immune system to attack the central nervous system. The disease, however, doesn’t usually become apparent until people are young adults between 20 to 40 years of age,” he says.

Dr Krissansen says many experimental treatments can inhibit or prevent the early stages of the disease, but when damage to the nerve fibres has already occurred, there is little in current medicine that can be done to help.

What is novel about our research is that we’ve found a way to potentially get the brain and spinal cords to actually repair themselves when they are at this advanced stage. No one up to now has been able to reverse advanced stage disease,” Dr Krissansen says.

Usually white blood cells are our protectors in that they protect the body against infection and cancer. In MS sufferers those white blood cells cross the blood-brain barrier – a layer of tight cells which lines blood vessels – which normally prevents most immune cells from entering the nervous system.

In the research performed in the laboratory by Dr Jagat Kanwar, they found that ‘receptors” on cells could be blocked in order to prevent the white blood cells from crossing the blood-brain barrier, and thereby prevent the development of MS.

In addition, they discovered that the combination of two different neuroprotective agents could protect nerve cells against the toxic molecules released by white blood cells if MS had already developed.

“By both blocking the receptors and protecting nerve cells against toxic molecules we can potentially reverse the symptoms of advanced MS, as the central nervous system has the ability to repair itself once further damage is prevented.

“It is the combinations that are effective as demonstrated in the preclinical work we have undertaken, and which provide the impetus for the work to proceed to human clinical trials,” Dr Krissansen says.

The results of the research were recently published in a top clinical neurology journal, “Brain”. Pending patent applications that capture the intellectual property have now been transferred to Auckland-based biotechnology company Neuren Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Neuren is commercialising the therapy, along with its other lead candidate therapeutics for neurological applications, such as brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases, all of which represent large unmet needs.

“Unless work such as this is commercialised it will never come to fruition in terms of a drug or treatment. We have undertaken the initial research, and now Neuren will work on creating a treatment that can help multiple sclerosis sufferers in the future,” Dr Krissansen says.

The multiple sclerosis study began in 1997 and has been funded by the Multiple Sclerosis Society, The University of Auckland, the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Marsden Fund.

For more information contact:

Associate Professor Geoffrey Krissansen
Department of Molecular Medicine & Pathology
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
The University of Auckland
Ph: (09) 373 7599 ext 86280
Email: gw.krissansen@auckland.ac.nz


http://www.health.auckland.ac.nz/news-events/news.html?id=186

My emphasis and I've removed the usual stuff about what is MS that such articles always begin.

And
...the disease can be fatal
:x MS isnt fatal of course, but ignorance in NZ journalists is a Darwinian boon to humanity 8)
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Re: Scientists in NZ say they have a cure!

Postby HarryZ » Sat Apr 02, 2005 8:11 am

I'm sure the researchers involved in this "discovery" are excited but I read in a subsequent post that the results were obtained by working with the "laboratory model of MS". That usually means that poor MS mouse!

Not to dampen the announcement, there have been numerous successes with various drugs that have both stopped and reversed MS in that mouse. About 6 years ago my wife took part in a trial that involved such a drug that "cured" MS in that little gaffer. A year into the trial, the drug caused a fatality by attacking the heart of one of the participants who was on a high dose of the medication. The trial was terminated immediately and we soon discovered that Marg was on the placebo! Whew!!

I sure wish that one of these days they will be able to translate a success story from the mouse to humans!

Harry
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Postby treez » Sat Apr 02, 2005 9:58 am

I always get my hopes up when I read stories like this!

Not to sound pessimistic, but I've personally learned some restraint because they don't seem to pan out.

My hopes are great, I think the "big breakthrough" will come from an independent research facility. Too bad all these researchers don't have the money the drug companies do!

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Postby dignan » Sat Apr 02, 2005 4:57 pm

If a discovery like this leads to a potential treatment for MS, it would probably take roughly 10 years (give or take) from when the announcement was made until there was a drug on the market for us to try. I think that's a big thing with these announcements, people get excited but don't realize that even if it really IS as amazing as it seems, it will still take 10 years. So there will be a whole lot of quiet time where we have no idea what's going on.
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Postby HarryZ » Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:47 pm

Dignan,

You pretty well summed up the time-line for something like this!!

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Postby OddDuck » Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:49 pm

Folks,

We already know about this discovery. It's the "Auckland" theory that Arron posted on here some time ago, and which I keep referring to as the "Auckland guys". :D (I'll go find it and post a link again.)

In addition, they discovered that the combination of two different neuroprotective agents could protect nerve cells against the toxic molecules released by white blood cells if MS had already developed.


Their theory is similar to mine. And I used their findings as backup for mine, also.

And yes, they said it would be about ten years before it got here, but folks, we have it now. But...........again, I can't get anybody to "listen". *sigh*

Deb

EDIT: Here's the link to the story originally posted on the home page here back in July: http://www.thisisms.com/modules.php?nam ... =0&thold=0

I did research on this when it first came out. NBQX is an anti-convulsant.
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Postby treez » Sun Apr 03, 2005 5:26 am

Since it was "new" and in the spotlight, does anyone know when Antegren was first discovered and development began......that would be a timeline to look back on. I think we all agree that one was fast-tracked too.


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Postby finn » Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:07 am

Sorry, time to leave the board.

-finn
Last edited by finn on Sun Aug 28, 2005 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JFH » Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:22 am

OddDuck wrote:We already know about this discovery. It's the "Auckland" theory that Arron posted on here some time ago, and which I keep referring to as the "Auckland guys". :D (I'll go find it and post a link again.)


You must forgive me for a double post. Arron headline came just two weeks after my dx :(

a) My mind was elsewhere and b) I hadnt found here yet.
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Postby bromley » Sun Apr 03, 2005 11:50 am

Dear all,

The NZ story was interesting, particularly given the idea that some repair could take place. Some repair has been seen in the current Campath 1H trial which Dr Alisdair Coles reported on the UK MS website:

'We imagined that Campath-1H treatment of multiple sclerosis would prevent further deterioration but would do nothing for damage already acquired. Quite unexpectedly however, most patients treated using a single dose of Campath-1H show a steady improvement in their disability over the next 12-24 months. This was encouraging but difficult to understand. The brain was being encouraged to repair itself; but why?

This project tests one possible explanation: that cells of the immune system are altered after Campath-1H treatment and they travel to the brain to release factors that encourage repair of nerve fibres. This touches on a fundamental question in multiple sclerosis research: does the process of inflammation, which is generally regarded as damaging, also actually encourage survival of nerve fibres?

Our approach is to look at the immune cells in the blood of people before and after Campath-1H. We put them in cultures in the laboratory and see if they release substances known to promote brain repair. So far we have had mixed results from these experiments. Secondly we take the soup released by these immune cells and pour it onto nerve cells growing in culture and watch what happens. Interestingly, after Campath-1H the immune cells do seem to encourage nerve cells to grow. Now we have to find out how!'

Bromley

On a separate point - John said that MS is not fatal. However, I've not seen any studies which confirm that this is the case. Jacqueline du Pre died at 42 and J K Rowling's (Harry Potter) mother died in her mid 40s. Is it really the case that MS is not fatal - I can't believe they would have died so young if they had not had ms. I've also read that the course of ms lasts 30 years or so - not good if you get it in the early 20s! Sorry for sounding bleak but I don't recall seeing any proper data on the life expectancy of those with ms - my consultant said I should have a 'near normal' life expectancy.
Last edited by bromley on Sun Apr 03, 2005 1:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby HarryZ » Sun Apr 03, 2005 12:06 pm

Bromley,

On a separate point - John said that MS is not fatal. However, I've not seen any studies which confirm that this is the case. Jacqueline du Pre died at 42 and J K Rowling's (Harry Potter) mother died in her mid 40s. Is it really the case that MS is not fatal - I can't believe they would have died so young if they had not had ms. I've also read that the course of ms lasts 30 years or so - not good if you get it in the early 20s! Sorry for sounding bleak but I don't recall seeing any proper data on the life expectancy of those with ms - my consultant said I should have a 'near normal' life expectancy.


I don't think think that one could say that MS "never" kills because the young girl (17) that Drs. Prineas and Barrett did their autopsy on, died after suffering a major exacerbation that affected her respiratory system. I have heard of other similar type cases but they are quite rare.

I have also read that the life expectancy of someone with MS is only a couple of years lower than average. This was confirmed to me by our life insurance agent who update our policies about 8 years ago. And insurance companies have a pretty good idea how long people are expected to live!!

What does happen to a number of MS patients is that they can suffer a number of illnesses that are indirectly caused by MS....such as bladder infections, resulting infections from bedsores, poor circulation, diabetes,etc etc. It's the damaging quality of life that MS inflicts on its victims that is the problem.

Harry
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Postby noddlebean » Sun Apr 03, 2005 5:02 pm

I think it is easy for people to become somewhat pessimistic about the article but I think we have had enough "bad" news of recent times I think we should all look at this with an open mind and accept it as a possible way forward or just be happy someone out there is one step closer to a possible successful treatment. This study isn't the first but wont be the last no doubt but we shouldn't write if off before its only just got started.

I am from New Zealand I will vouch for them!!! :wink:


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