Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the protective sheath that covers the body’s nerves. When this damage occurs, the communication between the brain and the rest of the body becomes disrupted, and the nerves eventually become deteriorated. MS is a devastating disease, mostly due to the fact that there is no current cure, and the subsequent nerve damage is irreversible. The symptoms of MS greatly decrease the patient’s quality of life and everyday routine activities. For example, MS can impair the patient’s ability to walk, affect vision, speech, and even bowel and bladder control. However, data from Scripps Research Institute suggests that a new drug candidate may be applicable in MS relapses. Specifically, the drug was found to reduce the relapse rates of MS patients by 53% compared to placebo. In addition, the drug decreased new brain damage in these patients by more than 90%
One of the most positive aspects of the study was that the participating MS patients remained on the drug regimen – a considerable benefit due to the fact that other available MS remedies are extremely difficult to tolerate. The researchers attribute the drug’s discovery to previous research that was aimed to identify the fundamental mechanisms in chemical biology in MS. Because there are no drugs available to MS patients that are free of adverse side effects, the researchers wanted to be able to address the needs of MS patients and their families in a way that did not include a stringent risk-benefit analysis – much like what is required of current MS medications.
A biopharmaceutical company based out of San Diego is currently developing the drug’s approval for the FDA here in the U.S. Currently, the new drug in the 3rd phase of clinical studies that involve 1,200 relapsing MS patients. Scheduled for completion in 2017, the trial may bring major changes to the way that MS is currently addressed; especially MS relapses. To add to the excitement, the new drug may also have potential use in other autoimmune diseases, including moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis. However, we will be unsure as to whether this drug will be available to the public for a few more years.
So what can MS patients do now to ease their symptoms and slow disease progression? Alternative treatments may be the answer – especially for patients who have difficulty tolerating available MS medication. Nutritional remedies that reduce the chance of UTI’s (a common problem in MS patients) may help to address secondary effects of the disease. Other nutritional recommendations include supplemental vitamin D, as osteoporosis is a common secondary disease linked to MS. Systemic enzyme therapy is also a great alternative, and can even be used concurrently with available MS meds. As an inflammatory condition, MS causes the body to attack its own healthy nerve coverings. By regulating this dysfunctional immune response, systemic enzyme therapy can help to slow progression of the disease – which is a valuable benefit since MS causes irreversible damage. In addition, systemic enzymes do not require a risk-benefit analysis, as they are safe, effective, and tolerable natural supplements.