this is at http://www.wnbc.com/drmaxgomez/index.html
Got it from the LDN yahoo group
I wouldn't risk my life on it.
Using Cancer Drugs To Treat MS
POSTED: 6:14 pm EDT August 30, 2004
It's a simple request, but a few months ago, even walking a straight line would have been impossible for Melissa Kaplan. She has multiple sclerosis and all of the conventional therapies had failed to slow the progression of her disease.
"It started out with double vision, and it had progressed to me losing my bowel and bladder function, my legs had gotten weak and I needed braces for my legs," she said.
While new medications do help, MS can and does progress to become a crippling disease. The problem is that the patient's own immune system turns on the body it is supposed to be protecting, attacking the insulating sheath around nerve fibers called myelin. Depending on where those short circuits occur in the brain and spinal cord determines the symptoms.
"Cancer drugs have been around for decades and cancer drugs target these abnormal cells that attack the brain in MS," said Dr. Douglas Gladstone of Stonybrook University Hospital.
That's the rationale for an experimental treatment for resistant MS, using a cancer drug called cyclophosphamide, or cytoxan, to try to eradicate the rogue immune cells.
It's a four-day infusion of the drug followed by another two weeks in the hospital during which time they usually need transfusions of red cells and platelets, and during which time they are at risk for serious infections, heart and bladder trouble.
"We've been following the patients for just shy of a year," Gladstone said. "During this period no patient has had a major exacerbation, and some individuals have had increased functionality."
Without the medications, Melissa was very sick for over a month. But then a couple of months later, things changed.
"I can walk again, I can move, I can stand on one foot. These are things I never could do," she said. "I am a new person. I have a new lease on life."