"Not to downplay his comments on the recent interview, Dr. Ebers has been saying much of the same for a number of years now. What else are these docs going to say in such an interview...they more or less have to offer some kind of hope against this lousy disease".
I think you are spot on.
The UK MS Society has an interview with a leading ms researcher every month - they ask what contribution they have made and what the future holds. Invariably, all say that the future for ms sufferers is brighter than ever before. There's always something 'big' coming in the 1-2 year timescale - I might start keeping a list of these predictions. Hope is one thing, but false hope is another.
What's even more incredible is that many of them say they have been involved in ms research for 20 or 30 years. What have they really achieved? They still can't answer one simple question about the disease - e.g cause, why more common in women etc. As I've said before, I find it incredible that the NMSS has spent $400m to date on research and all we've got are expensive drugs which have not been proven to stop disability (the real test of an effective drug in the case of ms).
What would happen if some bright spark actually worked out what this disease was really about (and hopefully a simple, cheap, effective treatment) - all those hundreds of researchers would be out of work and the drug companies would be in serious trouble. I've certainly seen the research profession and the drugs companies in a different light since getting this disease.
I like the way that a recent research project identified minocycline as a possible treatment and a small scale trial produced some impressive results. What large trial comes out of this work - a trial of minocycline + copaxone. The efectiveness of copaxone has already been questioned (Cochrane review). Given this, the trial results might be all due to minocycline - but it will not be presented like this.
Hopefully, the good results from Tysabri relating to relapses will show the same in the second year data. This in turn should force the other companies to come up with drugs that match or better Tysabri (hopefully in a tablet form). But I'm still concerned that there's more to this disease than just relapses - drugs companies are picking the bit of the disease which offers the best returns. And, I find it odd that there's a disease for which the cause is not known, but drugs companies are developing drugs to treat it???? If you took your car to a garage as it had broken down and the mechanic said he could not work out what was wrong but suggested an oil change and a new air filter - would you not be be suspicious! The car might run a little better but it might not be addressing the real problem.
Sorry for the rant, but when you go on the websites of the national ms societies you see the same old phrase 'finding the cure etc etc...' But they never do - and some have been around for 50-60 years.
Finally, I'd like a new law which says that it is legal to shoot anyone who uses the phrase 'there's never been a better time to get ms' (I have seen this) or a researcher who's findings end with the phrase 'the results of my work indicate that further research is required in this area'.
Finally finally - I'd like to see the Kurtz (spelling?) scale scrapped. One researcher recently described it as the 'famous Kurtz scale'. Surely it should be infamous. Is it just me, or does 10 seem a more attractive prospect than 6-9?
Bromley (woken up in a bad mood)