As you Canadians emerge from you igloos, think of me returning today from ten days in paradise - Mauritius. For the price of half a year's interferon I got - more Vit D than I could handle, a testosterone boost (girls in bikinis), lovely vegetables and fruit (Swank diet for ten days), and best of all, massages from someone trained in traditional Indian massage - US$15 for an hour). But I'll stop boasting.
Lying on my sunbed I spent too long thinking about this disease, but concluded that 2006 might be a much better year than 2005. Why?:
- further results from drugs trials such as FTY720 are looking good, but there's also been good early results on testosterone and doxycycline (recently posted).
- we should see further initial results from Rituximab (PP, SP and RR) and Daclizumab, and some of the neuro-protective drugs being developed e.g. by Neuren.
- love it or loathe it Tysabri should be back.
- Tovaxin and Neurovax are also entering the next trial phases which should show whether they are promising (or not).
- There's also a host of other drugs in the pipeline which look promising and should report results this year.
- We may get some answers relating to genes. The transcript I posted on genes from the NMSS MS Awareness Week suggested that the genes might be identified by the end of this year and Serono claim that their work on genes should be completed by the end of the year.
- I'm also attending the EBV think tank in mid-May which may give some stronger pointers to the role that this virus plays in MS.
- The ACTRIMS and ECTRIMS conferences take place in the Autumn and are showcases for drug trial results and research.
- As another year passes we should also see further outputs from the Lesion Project funded by the NMSS and the Tissue Bank and MRI projects funded by the UK MS Society.
- In August the large NMSS grants for protection and repair will be a year old and may show some initial results.
So the sun has obviously gone to my head, but on reflection, this looks like it might be a better year. Fingers crossed. I'll get back to posting stuff next Tuesday (it's a bank holiday in the UK on Monday and I'll be finishing off my Easter Eggs - can you still say Easter in the US?).
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I'll certainly report back on the EBV Think-Tank. It is being organised by one of the UK's top MS researchers / doctors and the great and the good from the UK MS research world have been invited to attend. I suspect that some strong evidence will be provided. I'll ask about other viruses. My MS nurse says that most of her patients can recall a bad case of Glandular fever but also mentioned Chicken Pox. There have been several papers produced this year on EBV and MS. The question I always have is why I had a bad case of Glandular Fever at 15 yet no MS symptoms until 38/39. The following research was therefore of interest.
Apologies - I see that Dunmann had already posted this article.
Epstein-Barr virus may be associated with multiple sclerosis
Young adults with high levels of antibodies against the Epstein-Barr virus, the virus that most often causes mononucleosis, may be more likely to develop multiple sclerosis 15 to 20 years later, according to a study posted online today that will appear in the June 2006 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Researchers have long suspected that external factors may influence the risk for multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, according to background information in the article. Some studies have suggested that the Epstein-Barr virus, which affects up to 96 percent of Americans by the time they reach age 35 to 40 years, may play a role.
Gerald N DeLorenze, PhD, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, Calif., and colleagues examined the records of patients who joined a health plan between 1965 and 1974, when they were an average of 32.4 years old. The patients had undergone multiple examinations, answered questions about their health and behaviors and submitted blood samples, which were processed and stored at cold temperatures. Between 1995 and 1999, the researchers searched medical records maintained by the health plan and selected 42 individuals with MS who had blood samples in storage. Three people with blood samples but without MS were matched to each MS patient by age, sex and date of blood collection. The blood samples of all participants were then analyzed to determine the levels of antibodies against the Epstein-Barr virus. Measuring antibodies, proteins produced by the body to fight infection, is one way to determine exposure to or presence of a particular virus in a person’s body.
The 36 women and six men who developed MS had their first symptoms at an average age of 45 years and an average of 15 years after their blood was collected. The average concentration of anti-Epstein-Barr virus antibodies was significantly higher among individuals who had developed MS than among those who hadn’t - those with four times the level of antibodies were approximately twice as likely to develop MS. The elevated levels became evident between 15 and 20 years before patients first experienced the neurological symptoms of MS and remained higher afterward, the researchers reported.
Researchers don’t yet understand how the Epstein-Barr virus causes the body to attack its own central nervous system, as it does in MS. “The mounting evidence that relates Epstein-Barr virus infection to other autoimmune diseases, particularly systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), suggests that Epstein-Barr virus may have a broad role in predisposing to autoimmunity,” or failure of the immune system to recognize the body’s own tissues, the authors conclude. “A fine understanding of the mechanisms that connect Epstein-Barr virus infection to MS is important because it will provide the basis for the translation of this epidemiologic finding into new ways to treat and prevent MS.”
(Arch Neurol. 2006; 63)
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Last week, I saw that southern England got about 5 cm of snow!!! We in London, ON Canada were enjoying sunshine and 19C. Perhaps I need to send you a guide on how to build igloosAs you Canadians emerge from you igloos, think of me returning today from ten days in paradise - Mauritius. For the price of half a year's interferon I got - more Vit D than I could handle, a testosterone boost (girls in bikinis), lovely vegetables and fruit (Swank diet for ten days), and best of all, massages from someone trained in traditional Indian massage - US$15 for an hour). But I'll stop boasting.
BTW, 6 years ago my wife's neuro at the time told her that two good holidays a year would do her better than any of the ABC drugs. Sounds like you had a good time!
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Wow! That's a pretty strong statement and it almost sounds if those researches believe that they've found "the cause" of MS. However, the brief report of the study's results might also be interpreted to say that in people who are genetically susceptible to developing MS, there is an overproduction of EBV antibodies or an over sensitivity to the EBV.Researchers don’t yet understand how the Epstein-Barr virus causes the body to attack its own central nervous system, as it does in MS.
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