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Cure for multiple sclerosis: Are we close?

I keep reading about potential cures for multiple sclerosis but how lose are we? Let us take a look at the situation.

Researchers and the medical profession already know that MS is a complicated disease with numerous symptoms. Also, they know that that it is not completely understood. That being the case, it is difficult to see how a cure may be imminent.

But let’s look at the current situation with an open mind.

Recently approved

On the drug front, there are numerous disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) that are used to slow the course of the disease. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved 15 such DMTs mostly for use in treating people with relapsing MS.

The FDA most recently approved ocrelizumab Ocrevus (brand name Ocrevus), at the end of March. This has been given the green light for treating both relapsing and primary progressive forms of the illness.

Ocrelizumab is an immunosuppressant that targets B cells, believed to have a key part in the destruction of myelin.

Patients receiving ocrelizumab also had fewer brain lesions and less loss of brain volume than the placebo group.

What’s ahead

Scientists can take 10 to 15 years to develop new medicines to the stage where they have approval of regulatory authorities to being commercially available. Clinical trials are an important part of his development process.

Some prospective therapies now in the pipeline are:

Laquinimod is an experimental drug in phase III trials for relapsing MS, and phase II

Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT or AHSCT) “reboots” the immune system in people with all types of MS. HSCT can halt the progress of the disease but does not repair damage already done.

MD1003 is high-dose biotin. It is being tested in phase III trials for both primary and secondary progressive MS and may promote myelin repair.

Siponimod is being developed for use in SPMS.

This all goes to show that research towards new MS treatments is moving fast. These new therapies include: resistance training, antioxidants, and gut microbes.

But is a cure for MS imminent?

Avures much as I wish it is just around the corner, the answer has to be NO.

DMTs help relieve symptoms, reduce disease progression and so on – but they are not cures. We maybe at a point where we are making significant progress to hope for a breakthrough soon, but nothing more.

It is a shame but I really cannot be any more positive than that.

Speaking personally, I have not yet found a DMT that I would be prepared to take. But that’s my choice, not my recommendation. As there is no cure yet, I am convinced that HSCT is the next best that is currently available.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Clinical Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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7 Responses so far.

  1. Linda La Rowe says:

    I love reading your posts. I am discouraged in a near cure for MS as it makes so much more sense to treat the disease. New medications are treatments…because Big Pharma makes so much more $$s. I am not saying they (Big Pharma) know exactly what causes MS, but they block any progress that researchers do that might lead to a cure. Please look into progress being made by Dr. Raymond Damadian, original inventor of the MRI, and Dr. Scott Rosa. They gave me back some lost abilities even though in secondary progressive MS. Also, this coordinates with CCSVI and what can be seen (venous restriction of blood flow in the brain) with standard MRI. The combination of CSF flow and blood flow is definitely an issue with MS and other neurodegenerative diseases. “The Craniocervical Syndrome and MRI” describes in detail what I have mentioned here and includes chapters written by Dr. Damadian and Dr. Rosa. I have to ask you, have you ever had head or neck trauma? These doctors have observed a distinct involvement where the spinal chord and brain connect. Many patients with MS have experienced this type of trauma.

  2. Linda La Rowe says:

    I am SPMS and have been for 12 years. I joined an MS study with Dr. Raymond Damadian and Dr. Scott Rosa almost 4 years ago. At the time, I had lost most of my vision, my abdomen was numb, I suffered from chronic constipation and bladder infections (at least one a quarter), couldn’t feel my fingers, and certainly wasn’t expecting much help because of the stage of the disease I was in. These doctors are not lightweights. Dr. Damadian invented the MRI and also developed the only Upright multi positional MRI. I received many notable improvements from these doctors including getting my eyesight back immediately, having the feeling in my fingers come back in a couple of weeks and after a year, getting the feeling back in my abdomen. I haven’t had a bladder infection in over three years. I can now feel the urgency to urinate which had been gone over a dozen years…and their help didn’t include drugs. So don’t assume I do not feel hope…I am more hopeful than ever and I would like to shout it from the roof tops. Dr. Damadian developed new software and hardware to do a CSF flow study. It was while doing this study that he observed a patient with MS having normal CSF pressure in her brain in the recumbent position, but it doubled in the upright position. In looking closely, he found she had blockage of the CSF flow in her cervical spine…and when the flow is blocked, CSF leaks from the ventricles in the brain where it is produced. Dr. Damadian asked for 7 more random people with MS to study and they showed the same issues. Dr. Damadian published his observations on these first 8 patients and sent me a copy. I knew Dr. Damadian for over 30 years and he knew I had MS. I must have read his paper a dozen times…and it was a eureka moment, as it matched my disease. Dr. Damadian feels MS as well as other neurodegenerative diseases are the result of head and or neck trauma. this causes the CSF blockage and the leakage of CSF and if you follow the leakage, it goes directly to the lesions in the brain. If your unblock the CSF flow, you stop the leakage. If you stop the leakage, you stop the disease. And your brain tries to heal itself. You see, I have experienced this myself. Dr. Damadian scanned me with the Upright MRI. I had 4 blockage points in my CSF flow in my cervical spine. I showed scoliosis in my neck, my atlas disc was diagonal, and my C2 was rotated. I was a classic case of what Dr. Damadian expected to find. This is where Dr. Rosa comes into play. I was noninvasively perfectly aligned by Dr. Rosa using an atlas orthogonal instrument with image guided precision. I felt nothing and wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen the images myself. You can read about this if you go to “fonar.com”, by clicking on new developments with MS, or if you get a copy of the newly published book, “The Craniocervical Syndrome and MRI”. It is kind of expensive, but it includes chapters written by these doctors as well as others.
    I wrote this a year ago and still have not regressed in any of the abilities I regained. It is notable because I had been in SPMS for 9 years when I joined this study. re your thoughts with me.

  3. Joan Quilter says:

    My daughter was diagnosed 20 years ago, and is now very disabled and bedridden most of the time. I’d like to know more about how you got back your vision; my daughter’s vision is almost gone. Her optic nerve has lost most of the myelin.

    • ian0811 says:

      Hi Joan, I am very sorry to learn of your daughter’s condition. I am certain you realise that MS symptoms vary widely from person to person, it doesn’t affect all of us in the same way. I am most fortunate never to have experienced vision issues.

    • Linda La Rowe says:

      I had lost my peripheral vision, and if I even slightly turned my head, I went into kaleidoscope vision that blinded me. I didn’t have optic neuritis, which sounds like your daughter. By putting my atlas disc in perfect alignment along with bringing my C2 within less rotation, my eyesight returned right away.
      These doctors are very focused on the connection of the spinal chord to the brain. There are many micro ligaments involved and the CSF flow is what is so very important. If it is blocked, the CSF becomes backed up in the ventricles in the brain where it is produced. It then leaks from the ventricles. Depending where the leakage goes and collects, that is where the lesions occur. Dr. Damadian has software that illuminates the CSF and you can see the blockage, the leakage from the ventricles, and see the pathways of the leakage. I saw this myself…my own scans sitting next to Dr. Damadian. Other MRIs do not see CSF. It is like air; it just doesn’t show up in standard MRI scans. I am not sure how Dr. Damadian does it, but I think he may be able to identify CSF chemically. I recall in the early days of MR, Dr. Damadian not only was trying to create images, he was also identifying chemical composition of the images. The medical community wasn’t interested in the chemical composition…it was too much info…they just wanted the images of soft tissue, a real break thru. However he does this, it certainly is more than others are capable of. For instance, when patients have MS for an extended period, it is common to be diagnosed with brain atrophy. In many cases, the blank areas in the brain are actually pools of CSF from the leakage. This can be seen by the Fonar (Damadian’s) software. When the CSF flow is opened up, the leaking stops. And the brain tries to heal itself. I don’t know if optic neuritis can improve, but it took a year to get the feeling back in my abdomen…so something improved for me. Joan, did your daughter have head or neck trauma before the onset of MS? It can take months or even years to notice the first signs. I am not saying this is the only piece to the MS puzzle, but it is major. Blood flow is also involved (CCSVI). Depending on where the CSF leaks, you can imagine why patients have different issues. Share with me your thoughts.

  4. Ken Collins says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog Ian, along with the comments of other readers. The DISCOVERY headlines that often appear in media reports, can give the impression that a cure is just around the corner.

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