Alice Melão, MSc,  —

Articles by Alice Melão

European 3TR Project Unites Experts in Effort to Make Treatment More Personal and Effective

A new public-private initiative brings academic and industry researchers from 15 European countries together in a large-scale effort to understand differences and commonalities in seven immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases, including multiple sclerosis, so to better predict a patient’s likely response to treatment and likely disease progression. The project, called 3TR…

Tests of Cognitive Abilities Very Useful in Judging Everyday Life Skills, But Study Advises Pairing with Other Tests

Testing cognitive abilities — like learning and memory, processing speed, and verbal fluency — can give valuable clues as to how well people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are able to go about their daily lives, according to a review study led by Kessler Foundation researchers. Neuropsychological tests are of “significant predictive…

MS Society, Parkinson’s UK Grant $3.6 Million to Digital Brain Bank

The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's Tissue Bank at Imperial College London, the largest brain and tissue bank in Europe, will receive £1.5 million (about $1.82 million) from the U.K. MS Society. This fund will support the development of a digital brain bank powered by a virtual reality platform, which will provide new tools for researchers around the world with the ultimate goal of stopping multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases. These new technologies will be used to create high-definition pictures of brain tissue donated by people with MS after their death. “When the tissue bank first opened in 1998 there were practically no treatments for those affected. Things are very different now and it’s a privilege to work with an organization like the MS Society, which does everything it can to ensure the work of the scientific community reflects the needs of people living with MS," Richard Nicholas, PhD, scientific director of the tissue bank, said in a press release. “This investment will ensure all researchers have access to high quality brain and spinal cord tissue from people with MS, and marks an important development in the U.K. research landscape. We’re excited to see where it takes us,” Nicholas added. The new-era tissue bank will grant researchers access to tissue images that can be studied extensively and indefinitely, and also will offer the opportunity to explore the brain’s structures in a 3-D interactive section. Together with Parkinson's UK, these two leading neurological charities will contribute a total of £3 million (about $3.6 million) over a period of five years. "The MS Society Tissue Bank has been vital in improving our understanding of MS and finding treatments for some people with the condition. But our top priority now is finding treatments to slow or stop MS for everyone,” said Sorrel Bickley, PhD, head of biomedical research at MS Society. This new virtual database gives researchers the opportunity to develop innovative projects in which they can combine virtual tissue data with genetic analysis in an easy and more efficient way, and help define how genetic landscape can affect MS and Parkinson’s progression. “We can see a future where nobody needs to worry about MS getting worse, but for that to happen we urgently need to find treatments that repair myelin — the protective layer that surrounds our nerves, which is damaged in MS, and protect the nerves from damage. This funding will allow researchers to operate as effectively as possible, and ultimately help us stop MS faster,” Bickley said.

Direct Nerve Stimulation Using MyoRegulator System Seen to Reduce Spasticity in Mice with Spinal Injury

Treatment with PathMaker Neurosystems’ anodal trans‐spinal direct current stimulation (tsDCS), a non-invasive direct nerve stimulation tool called MyoRegulator, was found to effectively ease spasticity in mice with spinal cord injury, a study reports. A link between the ability to control muscle contraction and the levels of a specific neuronal…

Study Shows Benefits of Low Temperature Exercise for MS Patients

Reducing body temperature during physical exercise can help rewire the brain and improve motor control in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a new research study at Canada’s Memorial University shows. Physical exercise can have several benefits for patients with MS, including improved strength and reduced symptoms of fatigue and…

WeHealth, PathMaker Collaborating to Develop MyoRegulator as Noninvasive Treatment for Spasticity

WeHealth by Servier and PathMaker Neurosystems have established a new partnership to develop and commercialize the first neuromodulation technology for noninvasive treatment of spasticity, the companies announced. The agreement establishes an exclusive worldwide distribution arrangement, except for the U.S. and Japan, for PathMaker’s MyoRegulator. The MyoRegulator uses two pairs…

Mavenclad Approved for Reimbursement as RRMS Treatment in Australia

Australia was one of the first countries to approve the use of Mavenclad (cladribine tablets, 10 mg) to treat patients with highly active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Now, the country’s government has taken another step to ensure this 20-day course treatment is available to the largest number possible of people affected by the disease. Australia’s Prime Minister, Hon. Scott Morrison MP, announced that Merck KGaA’s therapy was included on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing effective Jan. 1. This will make Mavenclad affordable for about 6,200 patients each year who are already accessing PBS-subsidized medicines for MS. (Of note, Merck KGaA is known as EMD Serono in the U.S. and Canada.) This was made possible by the joint effort of MS Australia, MS Research Australia, clinicians and members of the MS community who, after successive submissions, achieved a positive recommendation by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) to list Mavenclad on PBS as a treatment for RRMS. Australia's government will cover almost all costs of Mavenclad, which will mean that patients will have to pay only $40.30 per prescription, or $6.50 for concessional patients. “Thanks to our strong economic management, we’ve ensured that every new, essential medicine recommended for listing by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee receives government subsidy to make it affordable for all Australians,” the Prime Minister said in a press release. Mavenclad was developed to target immune T- and B-cells that trigger relapsing MS without suppressing the entire immune system. To be taken for a maximum of 20 days over two years, the oral drug has shown it helps MS patients remain relapse-free for up to four years, while supporting the “reset” of the immune system. Australia's regulatory agency decided to approve Mavenclad based on the findings of a number of clinical trials, including the Phase 3 CLARITY (NCT00213135), CLARITY EXTENSION (NCT00641537), and ORACLE-MS (NCT00725985) studies, as well as the Phase 2 trial ONWARD study (NCT00436826), and the long-term PREMIERE (NCT01013350) trials. These clinical studies involved more than 2,700 RRMS patients, some of whom were followed for more than 10 years. Overall, the trials showed that Mavenclad significantly reduced relapse rates, disability progression, and brain atrophy. Doctors recommend the therapy for patients who failed to respond to, or are unable to tolerate, other MS treatments.

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