BLOG: MS Patient’s Pick of the Week’s News: Nanobionic, Recruiting, Benign, Generic Danger, and ‘Inactive but Progressive’

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Pick of the Week's News

Here’s my Pick of the Week’s News, as published by Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

Nanobionic Clothing Seen to Help Clear Body of Free Radicals Associated with MS and Other Diseases

A recent study in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and Toxicology reported that the impact of disease-causing free radicals on the human body may be mitigated by wearing special, high-tech “Nanobionic” clothing for just a few hours a day. These clothes are designed to protect the body from the free radicals it produces, which, when in excess of its natural protective abilities, can result in oxidative stress and lead to cellular damage.

The clothing’s beneficial effects are yet to be fully documented. But in a first study, Ceramic Textiles from Mineral Oxides Microfibers Coating (Nanobionic) Efficiently Emit Infrared Rays and Reduce Free Radical Levels in Healthy Volunteers and in Patients with Free Radical-Related Disorders,” investigators provide evidence that Nanobionic clothes have high energy emissions up to 99 percent, demonstrating positive results of emitting infrared rays. Additionally, they demonstrated that mild use of Nanobionic clothing (two hours daily, six days a week) reduced free radical levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in two-thirds of healthy volunteers by an overall range of 9.13 percent to 95.38 percent.

It will be good to see to see a further report including full details of the beneficial effects for MS patients.

Study of Potential Therapy for Relapsing MS That Targets B-Cells Now Recruiting Patients in US

Here’s a chance for MS patients in the U.S. to get involved in some research.

Patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (RRMS) are being recruited for a clinical trial evaluating an experimental monoclonal antibody called ublituximab, the National MS Society reported. The study, being conducted at seven U.S. sites, will enroll at least 24 patients, but this number can go up to 100.

B-cells, which have a variety of immune functions, are thought to participate in the immune-mediated damage to the brain and spinal cord that is characteristic of MS. Therefore, a number of therapies targeting B-cells, such as Rituxan/Mabthera (rituximab) and Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), have shown beneficial effects in clinical trials with MS patients.

The study (NCT02738775) will be evaluating ublituximab’s efficacy and safety in relapsing MS patients. The primary outcomes to be assessed are the levels of B-cell depletion and the number of patients who experience adverse events. Secondary outcomes include monitoring disease activity through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and relapses.

Disease Modifying Drugs Seen to Help Protect MS Patients with Benign Status from Greater Disability

Now this is close to my heart, as in 2002, when diagnosed with MS, I was told that I had benign MS. I was not offered any treatment then or since.

Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) and people diagnosed with the disease at a younger age are more likely to have a benign course of MS, remaining fully functional for decades after disease onset, according to researchers at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in New York. Disease modifying drugs were also found to help maintain this benign state.

The results were published in the journal BMC Neurology, in the study, “Factors associated with benign multiple sclerosis in the New York State MS Consortium (NYSMSC).

MS is known for following a highly heterogeneous course. Some patients have what is called benign MS (BMS), experiencing little disease progression and minimal disability, sometimes even decades after disease onset. But patients with BMS can only be diagnosed retrospectively, 10 or more years after MS onset. The study’s findings suggest that early initiation and continued treatment with DMDs is beneficial for BMS patients.

I may have had little progression from first symptom to diagnosis but, unfortunately, things have speeded up since then. Drugs like these may have helped.

Low-Quality Generic MS Drugs Can Be Both Toxic and Ineffective, Study Reports

Low-quality unauthorized generic versions of approved multiple sclerosis (MS) drugs can expose patients to danger, both through their toxic properties and a lack of efficacy that allows the disease to progress, researchers reported in the study, “Clinical implications for substandard, nonproprietary medicines in multiple sclerosis: focus on fingolimod,” published in the journal Drug Design, Development and Therapy.

The investigation focused on Gilenya (fingolimod) and its generic versions on markets worldwide to exemplify the crucial differences that can exist between approved and unauthorized MS drugs, and how these gaps can affect patients.

As a drug patent expires, manufacturers are free to produce generic versions of the medication — a regulation allowing for lower-cost treatments. Under U.S. and European regulations, as well as those of the World Health Organization, these drugs need to adhere to the same quality standards that were imposed on the original drug, making unauthorized copies a problem concerning mainly patients outside the U.S. and E.U.

In an article authored by an international congregation of scientists, and funded by Novartis Pharma, the developer of Gilenya, researchers detailed the concerns surrounding drugs on less regulated markets. Studies show that in areas such as Asia and Africa, poor-quality generics can make up 40 percent to 50 percent of the available drugs.

Low quality substitutes are a worrying thought. But first, they have to be proved to be inferior and by an independent laboratory.

MedDay’s MD1003, a Biotin, Shows ‘Remarkable’ Efficacy in Treating Inactive but Progressive MS in Clinical Trials

MedDay recently disclosed full study results from the MS-SPI and MS-ON Phase 2b/3 trials of its therapeutic candidate MD1003 in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Specifically, the trials included people with “not active” progressive MS, and those with either relapsing or progressive MS and visual loss, respectively. Data, presented at the recent American Academy of Neurology 2016 Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, demonstrated better efficacy in reversing disease progression than a drug has previously achieved in not-active progressive MS.

MD1003 is a pharmaceutical formulation of high-dose biotin, a type of vitamin B. The drug, which is already commercially available in certain European countries under early access programs, has previously shown efficacy in patients with progressive MS. It acts in MS by increasing a route of cellular energy production, protecting against the breakdown of nerve cell axons. It also activates enzymes that are setting the pace on myelin repair by being involved in the production of myelin constituents.

The MS-SPI trial, focusing on not-active progressive MS, a difficult-to-treat form of the disease, explored the effects of MD1003 in 103 patients, compared to 51 others who received placebo during 12 months. The study continued in a 12-month extension phase, during which all patients received MD1003 but remained uninformed of whether they had been treated with the drug in the first phase.

MS-SPI met its primary endpoint — the proportion of patients who improved on either the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) or a timed walk test. MedDay reported improvement in 12.6 percent of patients after nine months, confirmed at 12 months, and equivalent to a reversed progression. During the same period, none of the placebo-treated patients improved.

Interesting story, especially since it suggests a potential treatment for some forms of progressive MS.

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 blog article 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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Ian Franks is Managing Editor of the Columns division of BioNews Services. He has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media; during which he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain and uses his skills to write his own flourishing specialist MS, Health & Disability blog at Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.
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