Columns

Researchers Working on a Band-Aid to Replace Shots

How cool is this? Though it's not yet related to multiple sclerosis, researchers are developing a Band-Aid-size patch that can inoculate someone with the flu vaccine. The patch is made up of 100 solid, water-soluble microneedles that are just long enough to penetrate the skin. They’re contained in an area about the size of a dime. Adhesive helps the patch grip the skin during the administration of the vaccine, which is encapsulated in the needles and is released in about 20 minutes, as the needle tips dissolve. The patch is then peeled away and discarded like a used bandage strip. The researchers, working at Georgia Tech and Emory University, report that in their Phase I clinical trial the patch was just as effective in generating immunity against the flu as the traditional flu shot. They believe the microneedle patch can save money because it is easily self-administered, it can be transported and stored without refrigeration, and it’s easy to dispose of without needing a sharps waste container. Above all, says principal investigator Nadine Rouphael, MD, of the Emory University School of Medicine, “having the option of a flu vaccine that can be easily and painlessly self-administered could increase coverage and protection by this important vaccine.” Now, I don’t want to jump the gun. Although the researchers are working to develop these microneedle patches for use with other vaccines, including measles, rubella and polio, they’ve only completed the first phase of their clinical trials. They’re now planning a Phase 2 trial with more participants. Whether MS drugs might, someday, be administered this way is anyone’s guess. But, it certainly would be nice if one day, instead of jabbing yourself in the thigh for your scheduled MS shot, you could deliver your MS medication by just putting a Band-Aid on your skin.

Ocrevus and Me

I’ve done it! I made the treatment switch that so many people with multiple sclerosis are talking about: I said goodbye to Tysabri (natalizumab) and am now on Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) as my disease-modifying therapy (DMT). I went through 56 monthly infusions (or maybe more, I’ve…

Go, Go Avocado!

I don’t normally go in for trends. For example, I don’t own a single pair of skinny jeans. I’ve never tried a Unicorn Frappuccino. I’m not on Instagram or Snapchat. I didn’t participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge. And I refuse to use the words “doggo,” “pupper,”…

My Lemtrada Journey: A 6–Month Report

It’s been a little over six months since I completed Round 1 of my Lemtrada infusions, so it’s time again to ask myself, “How am I doing?” The answer: I’m not sure. For many years, my brain MRI has remained unchanged. I can’t remember the last time…

Can You Cultivate Happiness as a Habit?

Last week, I shared details of Everyday Matters, a program by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This self-directed, multi-week program uses the principles of positive psychology. The readings, lessons, and exercises need not be completed in a particular order, but I am going to start my exploration of…

Pardon the Introduction: My Life with MS in Motion

Though my first brush with MS came in 2000 or so, I wasn’t diagnosed until December 2013 with primary progressive MS. Shortly after the diagnosis, I began scouring the internet for information about the disease and how to live with it. Sound familiar? I found…

So Tired of This

It’s summer in the U.K., and it’s hot. That’s cause for celebration for everyone but us. It’s actually the hottest June day since 1986. Heat immediately spikes my fatigue. For some of us, the cold does the same. Thankfully, not me — I get the winter off. According…

Ocrevus, Hope, and a Suicide Postponed

Several months ago, I wrote a column about Andrew Barclay. Barclay died in an assisted suicide in December. He’d had multiple sclerosis for many years. Colin Campbell is a 56-year-old MS patient who lives in Inverness, Scotland. He also wanted to die. In fact, he was scheduled…

Hyping MS Headlines Is Uncool

Once again, over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been blasted with headlines trumpeting a new MS discovery. Last month there were headlines about an inexpensive acne drug that supposedly could be used to reduce the symptoms of early MS. This month it’s headlines about a “cure”…

Looking Back in Anger

Back in the day, I always wanted to be a columnist. That day was so long ago it was before sunrise. In my youthful naivety, I never thought about generating an idea a week. I also never considered it would be about my travails with an illness. Still,…

My Opportunity to Speak with ‘Big Pharma’

I was in Boston last week at the headquarters of Sanofi Genzyme. Yes, the big drug company. They brought together several people they consider to be “digital influencers” to pick their brains about what’s on the minds of people like you, who read what we write. Sanofi…

A Looming Crisis in MS Research and Care

Editor’s note: Patient columnist Laura Kolaczkowski attended the 31st annual Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers conference in New Orleans. We’re facing a major problem in the near future due to a shortage of researchers for multiple sclerosis, according to Jerry Wolinsky, MD, Bartels Family and Opal…

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