MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Cannabis Studies, Oral Therapy Study, and Exercising with Wii

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by Ed Tobias |

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MMJ Hires Lead Investigator for Phase 2 Trials of Medicinal Cannabis to Treat Progressive MS

The real news here is what hiring a lead investigator means. It means that Phase 2 trials of a medical marijuana product to treat MS pain and spasticity are closer to beginning. In fact, MMJ BioScience hopes to start them, with several hundred patients, in early 2018.

MMJ BioScience, an affiliate of medical cannabis research company MMJ International Holdings, has hired a principal investigator to lead clinical trials exploring potential therapeutic applications of cannabinoids in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).

Dr. Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, a neurology professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is executive director of the New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium. She will lead Phase 2 clinical trials, which have already been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with the guidance of Parexel, a clinical research organization.


Cannabinoid, Dronabinol, Seen as Long-term Treatment Option for Neuropathic Pain in Phase 3 Study

Who says MS doesn’t have pain associated with it? I read posts all the time from MS patients who are complaining about pain. Many of them try to ease it by using some sort of cannabis product. This study, of the oral solution dronabinol, reports some long-term benefits without some of the feared side effects.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients being treated with dronabinol, a cannabinoid, do not show signs of drug abuse or dependency, leading researchers to conclude it has potential to be a long-term and safe treatment option for neuropathic pain.

The issue of pain management, specifically central neuropathic pain (CNP), in patients with autoimmune disorders, such as MS, is largely unresolved. Dronabinol, whose active compound comes from medical cannabis, is often used to ease nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It may also treat chronic pain and has been investigated in a few clinical trials.


Sanofi and Principia Join to Develop Potential B-Cell-targeting Oral MS Treatment

Sanofi-Genzyme already has Lemtrada (infusion) and Aubagio (oral) in its portfolio of MS drugs. Now it’s teaming with another pharma company to develop another MS pill. Like Lemtada, PRN2246 targets B-cells in the immune system. But, unlike Lemtrada, this investigational drug is designed to modify those cells rather than destroy them.

Sanofi Genzyme and Principia Biopharma have entered into a license agreement to advance the clinical development of PRN2246, an oral drug candidate for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other diseases of the central nervous system.

PRN2246 is an inhibitor of the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK), an enzyme encoded by the BTK gene that plays a crucial role in B-cell development and the B-cell signaling pathway. B-cells are known to be involved in the development of autoimmune diseases that affect the nervous system, including multiple sclerosis.


Physical Exercise Using Nintendo Wii May Improve Balance and Gait in MS Patients, Study Says

OK, Santa, I guess I need to add a Wii to my wish-list this year. Actually, I’ve heard for years about using a Wii video game to improve balance, but this is the first time that I’ve read about a controlled study of this. The results appear positive. If Santa doesn’t bring me a Wii, I wonder if I can deduct the cost from my taxes as a medical expense.

A physiotherapist-supported exercise program using Nintendo Wii may be a feasible and cost-effective way of helping people with multiple sclerosis (MS) be more physically active, researchers reported after performing a small pilot study.

While findings showed some evidence that people improved — both in terms of self-reported health, gait and balance measurements — researchers underscored that more data needs to be gathered on the intervention’s effectiveness, as the study mainly intended to determine if such a program was feasible.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


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