MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: PPMS Treatments, Myelin Repair, the Blood-brain Barrier, Sunlight

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by Ed Tobias |

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New Spherix Report Finds PPMS Treatment Increased Significantly in Past Year

Primary progressive MS has, in some eyes, been the stepchild of the disease-modifying therapies. PPMS patients move steadily downhill, and some believe treatments haven’t kept pace with their disease. Now, the research company Spherix has news indicating that PPMS treatments are on the upswing.

Since Genentech‘s Ocrevus was approved a year ago, the treatment rate of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) has increased significantly.

However, a closer look at the data shows that other disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are equally responsible for this increase.

The findings were reported by Spherix Global Insights in their new study titled “RealTime Dynamix: Multiple Sclerosis (US).” The results were based on a survey conducted among 101 U.S. neurologists.


Genetically Engineered Cells Have Potential to Restore Neuron’s Myelin Sheath, Study Shows

It’s an early study, but it’s one more that adds to the hope that it may be possible to repair damaged myelin. If that myelin can be repaired, of course, there’s hope that central nervous system functions that are lost to MS can be restored.

Genetically modified human umbilical cord blood cells can help nerve cells recover the myelin layer necessary for normal functioning, researchers found in a preclinical study.

This finding may support the development of cell-based therapeutic approaches to help patients with spinal cord injuries or demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The study, “Influence of Genetically Modified Human Umbilical Cord Blood Mononuclear Cells on the Expression of Schwann Cell Molecular Determinants in Spinal Cord Injury,” was published in the journal Stem Cells International.


High Levels of Protein Can Disrupt Blood-Brain Barrier in MS, Study Finds

When the blood-brain barrier is damaged, certain cells and molecules can enter the brain and cause inflammation. In this small study, researchers found an unusually high amount of a specific protein in the brains of the study subjects who had MS. A study in mice found that those whose brains lacked that protein, calnexin, were completely resistant to the development of an MS-like condition. This information could lead to new treatments.

High levels of a protein called calnexin in the brain may disrupt the blood-brain barrier of patients with multiple sclerosis, a Canadian study suggests.

The finding could lead to new treatment strategies to prevent brain damage in MS.

The research, “Calnexin is necessary for T cell transmigration into the central nervous system,” was published in the journal JCI Insight.


High Sun Exposure During Childhood May Lower Risk of MS, Study Finds

Studies have shown that the farther you move away from the equator, the greater the chance you’ll be diagnosed with MS. Other studies have reported that maintaining a good vitamin D level in the body can have a protective effect against MS. Sunlight, of course, is a good source of vitamin D. So, it’s no surprise to me that a study is reporting that young people who spend a lot of time in the sun may reduce the risk of developing MS.

People who live in areas with medium to high levels of ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation from sunlight during their childhood and early adolescence, or in the years preceding the age of onset of multiple sclerosis (MS), have a lower risk of developing the disease, according to researchers.

The study’s findings were reported in an article titled “Sun exposure over the life course and associations with multiple sclerosis,” published in the journal Neurology.


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.


Linda avatar


I have lived with MS for 28 years. I have been considered progressive for the last 10 years.

I am in the process of getting approval for Ocrevus. Can’t wait for my first infusion.

GSPALEN avatar


Here in Portugal it's the same story the Ocrevus has been approved but no one is getting the infusion

Mardi Niles avatar

Mardi Niles

Hi Linda,
In April I will be getting my second infusion of Ocrevus. The first infusion which is split into 2 infusions, only half a dose at each, went well. I slept through the first one and stayed wide awake during the second one. I did need assistance with transportation.
As far as seeing any difference, I do. Mine is not a huge difference, but there was a definite change.
I have ongoing symptoms that I live with daily. I know the med is not a cure, but it did help. I felt much better with a noticeable difference in my symptoms. I received it in September and noticed the difference improving in November. It is now March and I am due to have my next infusion in April. I look forward to it. Symptoms have returned in February and are present everyday now. The great part is I did have a longer period feeling much much better and I expect this next infusion will do the same.
I am optimistic that this drug is going to help a lot of people. With Spring here I am hoping to be more active this season, definitely more active.
Ocrevus did exactly what was described to me. It made symptoms and episodes less intense and certainly farther apart.
I wish you very good results with your treatments.
I have had MS since my pre-teen years. It took 25 years for a diagnosis. I will be 65 in June and still conquering MS and the World.
Optimistically yours,
Mardi Niles

Reply avatar

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I spent all my early life in the sun during the summer, working in gardening etc. I have a large open property where I still spend summers in the sun working on gardens and walking my dog. Of course New England has long winters, so this finding could only be for the Northern States, and MS must not be prevalent in the Southern States.

Janice Kross avatar

Janice Kross

I was born and grew up on Thursday Island spent my life in the sun but have PPMS for 30 years.

Reg. Bavis avatar

Reg. Bavis

I would like to have the new drug Octaves ,i have had ms from 95 , a lot of people have tried it ,with some success , I am in my late 70s in good health except for ms. Reg Bavis


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