thank you for your input. I don't quite agree with you in everything you wrote, but since I have already stated my opinions several times in this thread, I'll let it be for now. Instead, I'd like to comment few parts of your posts:
... the first therapies for MS have not been as effective as hoped - in terms of stopping / radically slowing down the progression of the disease.
That was nicely put. On the other hand, this is what the reliable and unbiased
Cochrane group had to say about the results of double blinded drug trials done with interferons
"MS may be related to the immune system. Interferons have several effects on the immune system, and act against viruses. The review of trials found that interferons can lead to a moderate reduction in recurrences and disability in people who have MS with remissions."
And Cochrane Report on Copaxone
"Available data do not support a beneficial effect of Glatiramer acetate in preventing both disease progression, measured as a sustained worsening in disability, and clinical relapses."
And with PML, a more vicious demyelinating disease, the JC virus (dormant in the majority of people) is reactivated and the reason for the devastating damage. I don't think PML is described as auto-immune, but it is clear that the immune system does the damage in its efforts to control / clear the virus.
I suppose that's not the way it goes. Actually, JC virus can cause PML only when the immune system is suppressed or isn't working well enough in the first place. That is why PML occures more often among AIDS-patients, and that is why it was found in those few unfortunate MS patients in Tysabri trials.
Campath is very effective at whacking the T cells and B cells, thereby dramatically reducing relapses and allowing the body to repair "reversible" damage, but may also promote some repair
You're right, in the phase II trial
Campath was able to reduce relapses by 75% when compared to Rebif. It was a good result, but I wouldn't call it "dramatic". The trial lasted only two years, and thus no conclusions can be made about the ability of Campath to halt the proggression of permanent disability.
It is the B cells that are dramatically reduced by Rituxan. This is one of the few drugs that is being trialled for PP MS - where inflammation plays much less of a role (compared with RR).
Rituxan is also one of the drugs that might increase the risk of PML
. I agree with Harry, using monoclonal antibodies may always have its risks. Is it worth it? Maybe one day we'll know it for sure.
Do nothing or do something risky? Those of us with the disease are caught between a rock and a hard place.
Now you're talking! By learning more about ones background and way of thinking it is often easier to understand ones actions and comments.
Maybe instead of "autoimmune" and "no autoimmune" camps, people on this board could be divided into "hope" and "scepticism" camps. I'd say you're obviously in the "hope camp". You're also ready to attack against those who don't share your way of seeing things on a personal level. I personally don't always accept it, but after reading your posts in this thread I can understand it better.
I definitely belong to the "scepticism camp". All current medications are used, and most of those in the pipeline are studied in trials here in Finland, but I wouldn't try any of them. I just don't trust the logic behind them. The only drug I'd be willing to try is minocycline, but it is not available here at all. If I had known then what I know now (partly by following this board), I would have had my hormone and insulin levels checked right after I was diagnosed, too.
Anyway, this has been a good thread. I think Harry summarized it well in one of his posts:
I think this thread has been very interesting with many different thoughts and opinions....and no real answers....sounds like MS!!!