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Multiple forms of MS?

One of the many puzzling and infuriating aspects of multiple sclerosis is that the disease follows such different courses in different people. On top of that, people's responses to the handful of drugs that can slow the progress of MS vary widely. Some patients find their symptoms diminish quickly once they start drug therapy, while others cast about for years in search of a drug that does them any good at all.

Researchers at Stanford University may have discovered why that is. It turns out there may be two different forms of MS, and each may respond differently to drug treatment.

Their work built on a discovery (by the lead author when he was a grad student at the University of Alabama) that one of the major MS drug therapies, beta-interferon, can reverse paralysis in mice in which an animal model of MS (called experimental autoimmune encephalitis, or EAE) had been induced. Beta-interferon (marketed as Betaseron) was known to have the same effect in some humans.

Then, at Stanford, researchers led by Lawrence Steinman found they could induce EAE in two different ways, each using a different cytokine, or immune-system signal chemical, to trigger the damaging autoimmune response characteristic of the disease. The cytokines they used were called gamma-interferon and IL-17.

Steinman's team learned that mice whose EAE was triggered by immune cells that secrete gamma-interferon responded positively to beta-interferon. But in those whose EAE was triggered by IL-17, disease symptoms were actually exacerbated.

To see if the same might be true among humans with MS, the team analyzed data collected in an Amsterdam study for a group of 26 people who had been treated with beta-interferon. When the team matched blood samples to data showing how well or poorly each patient had responded to the drug, they saw a clear pattern. Those whose blood had high levels of a variety of IL-17 (called IL-17F) had responded poorly to the drug, while those with low levels of that cytokine responded well.

Why is this important? If that finding holds true in other lab work and in larger human studies, people with MS might be able to determine whether they're likely to respond to a drug therapy by taking a simple blood test. That would save them the time, money and frustration of dallying with an expensive drug that's ultimately not going to help. (Beta-interferon, according to the study, only benefits about half the people who try it.) Steinman is now investigating whether the phenomenon occurs with other MS drugs.

It's also important because it's clear that MS is a disease to be chipped away at, not understood all at once through some single Eureka! discovery. Every little (or big) thing we learn about this confounding disease gets us that much closer to cracking it once and for all.

Folks with MS, how many treatments have you tried? How has your disease responded to them? Please share your experiences in the Comments section.

Want to tweet re MS? Look for me and the other Local Living writers at @wposthome/local-living. And keep track of my "Me Minus 10" effort to lose 10 pounds before I turn 50 at

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  March 28, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Multiple Sclerosis  
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MS can be cured using energy techniques. Within the human energy field is an intelligent symbolic coder who provides a symbolic representation of medical problems. To give an example, a woman pinched a nerve in her back while unloading her luggage at the airport. She was in great pain for weeks and had to lie down most of the time. The symbolic coder represented this case as a knot tied in a string. It was only necessary to untie the knot and remove it from the woman's energy field. She said the pain went away immediately. This remote healing was done at a distance of 2000 miles away. The symbolic coder provides a real-time video scanning of the patient through the scalar triangle. A finger is a vector with length and direction. Combining the forefinger with the other forefinger and the two thumbs produces a vector with no resultant length, hence it is a scalar triangle. In looking at a patient with digestive problems, the scalar triangle screen shows that the skin of the chest opens up and the healer is able to see the scanning of the entire digestive tract. After scanning, the skin closes and the patient is healed. In terms of MS, the patient appears to have unattached light cords emanating from the body. After healing, the symbolic coder shows that these light cords are wrapped around the patient's head. What this does is to change the frequency of the antibodies so that they do not recognize the person's body as a foreign substance. One side effect is that the wrapping causes a headache for about a week afterwards which subsides slowly. The symbolic coder can cure viral, fungal and bacterial infections instantaneously. Other energy techniques can mend broken bones overnight. Arterial plaque slows the scanning down considerably to several minutes, but avoids the need for heart bypass surgery. Aren't we wonderful creatures!

Posted by: JohnStClair | March 29, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The fact that the current one-size-fits-all dose of the drug, beta-interferon ($6 billion sales per year), reacts so differently in patients with the two newly discovered forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) recently reported speaks to the complexity of interferon itself.

There are three types of IFN, nine classes and numerous subtypes - all of which may have a vastly different effect on diseases. Beta-interferon is just one type and, as the recent report confirms, researchers still know little about how the drug actually works to fight MS.

One quarter of MS patients react negatively to beta-interferon treatment and/or do not benefit at all — wasting over $1 billion dollars every year – while a significant portion of MS patients are not receiving a strong enough dose.

Sidney Pestka, M.D., known as the “father of interferon,” and his team of scientists are experts in beta-interferon. His laboratory at PBL InterferonSource leads the world in developing just the sort of research-use kits and tests that CNN asserted would be important as the next steps for improving MS treatment. Dr. Pestka first isolated IFN-alpha and IFN-beta, and went on to invent the process used to synthesize these molecules, which eventually became primary treatments for various diseases, including MS, Hepatitis C, and Lymphomas. For more info on Dr Pestka see [wikipedia link here].

His underlying philosophy is to thoroughly understand a drug’s mechanism of action first so that treatments are effective and efficient later -- a necessary approach for an industry that produces about one successful drug per fifty attempts.

Dr. Pestka is Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Chief Scientific Officer at PBL InterferonSource, and recipient of the 2001 National Medal of Technology.

Posted by: choag1 | April 1, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

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