New multiple sclerosis drug will cost $50,000 a year
Experimental drug called BG-12 joins fight against misunderstood disease
An experimental new drug, BG-12, has been shown to lower the number of nerve cell attacks of those afflicted with multiple sclerosis with fewer side effects. It's estimated that the treatment will cost $50,000 a year, the same as other drugs used to treat MS.
MS occurs about three times as often in women as men; especially for cases diagnosed for people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
BG-12 helps reduce the number of "flare-ups" associated with the disease, in the manner of the nine other drugs already approved to treat MS.
In MS cases, the immune system, specifically disease-fighting T-cells destroy the myelin sheath, the coating on the outside of brain and spinal nerve cells. This occurs during separate attacks or flare-ups, usually a year or more apart. No part of the brain or spinal cord appears resistant. People with MS can appear very healthy, but autoimmune attacks often inflict severe damage.
"MS can affect vision, movement, strength, sensation, bowel, bladder, sexual function, mood, cognition," says Dr. Robert Fox, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic who headed the BG-12 study. "Everything the brain does can be impaired from MS."
Its possible MS may be set off by a viral infection. After the infection, the immune system starts to mistake neurons for virus or infected cells and destroys them.
MS' viral role has been suggested from studies done in the Orkney, Shetland and Faroe Islands off Scotland. While all these islands share similar geography and ethnic makeup, prior to 1943, the Orkneys and Shetlands had a high incidence of MS, while the Faroe Islands almost none. The overriding theory is that the movement of British troops spread a virus.
There also strong evidence for genetic susceptibility. This theory stems from the incidence of MS among various ethnic groups. Caucasians have the highest incidence while other ethic groups have almost no MS. These include the Inuit of Canada, Yakuts of Russia, the Hutterites, a religious group in Montana, Hungarian Romani, Norwegian Lapps, Australian Aborigines and New Zealand Maoris.
Many populations in Africa almost never suffer MS; only contracting the disease when they migrate to Europe or the U.S. their rates go up. Many Asian populations have almost no MS, and for them migration does not seem to increase susceptibility.
MS seems to occur far more often in cooler climates than those that are closer to the equator. Like many autoimmune diseases, hormones seem to play a role. MS occurs about three times as often in women as men; especially for cases diagnosed for people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
Research thus far have not yielded the cause or a cure for the disease. And although people with MS have near-average life expectancies, until there are better medications, they will likely end up in a wheelchair with many other disabilities.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Malaria cases spread to higher elevations
- Alzheimer's to join cancer, heart disease as one of America's top fatal conditions
- Birthing centers not provided for under health care reform
- Lots of proteins can BE BAD FOR YOU! 'As bad for health as smoking,' new study finds
- OUTBREAK: 53 people in 10 states stricken with measles
- Popular overdose drug rises in cost, to keep up with demand
- ANCIENT SCOURGE: leprosy, still very much alive in the world today, goes back 10 million years
- CONTROVERSY: Is dyslexia a 'meaningless label' to excuse bad reading skills?
- Horrid polio-like disease stalking children in California, may be very widespread
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?