Yesterday I went to another Shared Solutions program where Dr. Bailey spoke about the different Multiple Sclerosis therapies, a few other quick topics, and answered various questions from the audience. I met a woman who was diagnosed with MS about a year ago and her father who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at about the same time. Overall it was a pretty good event and I really enjoyed it.
One thing I should share is that Dr. Bailey is not too big a fan of the oral therapies basically for the same reasons that I am not a fan of them for; they have not been out long enough to see the long term effects of the drugs. He spent a while talking about Tecfidera (BG-12) and how they basically rushed it to the market to promote it as the “cure for MS” (hence the hype over the drug) when in fact they are overlooking the fact that it has been linked to PML (Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy) which I recently wrote about. Sure it may help some patients but if no one is really looking at the potential dangers then will this drug ultimately help or hurt patients in the long run?
Dr. Bailey went over all the main therapies and asked who was on which ones by show of hands. Of course most the people there were on Copaxone (since this was a Shared Solutions event) and I was the only one in the room on Tysabri (haha). He went over other medications from Solu-Medrol to Baclofen for relapse treatment and symptom control.
After the program I asked Dr. Bailey about that medication he mentioned to me before my last infusion, the one I could not remember the name of. The medication he told me about (that would probably be a good candidate to switch to from Tysabri if I understood correctly) was Campath. Campath (alemtuzumab) was originally used to treat forms of leukemia but is being tested for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. It is given intravenously (through and IV) for 3-5 days once a year. It acts by killing T-cells and has been shown to halt disability progression and sometimes even reverse it (immediately) over the first 3 years. Although the medication is really focused on relapsing remitting MS it was tested on patients with progressive forms of MS and it did in fact prevent the formation of new lesions over seven years but did not prevent the long term disability effects of the disease. I will have to do more research and keep an eye on this because it does sound pretty interesting…