Navigation Links
Only Half of MS Patients Respond to Interferon Therapy

Finding may support idea that multiple sclerosis isn't a single disease, one expert says

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that treating multiple sclerosis with the drug interferon only works for about half of patients.

Interferon works by reducing inflammation and can reduce the relapse rate of multiple sclerosis (MS) while slowing the progression of disability.

Dr. Moses Rodriguez, a professor of neurology and immunology at the Mayo Clinic, who was not involved with the study, thinks the finding provides more evidence that MS is not one disease.

"This finding fits well with our results and fits our clinical observation," Rodriguez said. "We see that there are four distinct patterns of MS. Two of the patterns are associated with inflammation, and two of the patterns are not associated with very much inflammation."

The new interferon study supports that finding, Rodriguez said, adding, "You have either responders or non-responders."

This is true for all current MS treatments, Rodriguez explained. For the type of multiple sclerosis called chronic progressive MS, there is no treatment, he noted. "There are probably a number of diseases hiding under this umbrella we call MS," he said.

The interferon report was published online Nov. 10 in Archives of Neurology and was expected to be published in the January 2008 print issue of the journal.

For the study, researchers led by Dr. Francesca Bagnato, of the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, looked at brain MRI scans of 15 MS patients who were given shots of interferon -- a standard MS treatment -- every other day over 36 months.

The researchers found that eight patients saw a 60 percent reduction in their brain lesions, which are typical of MS; these patients were classified as "responders." Among the seven "non-responders," three had an initial reduction in lesions, two never reached the 60 percent reduction level, and two did not respond during the first six months of therapy but did reach a 60 percent reduction in lesions later on.

Moreover, three patients who responded to interferon therapy had at least one relapse, as did all seven of the non-responding patients, the researchers found.

"To our knowledge, our descriptive study provides for the first time a detailed long-term analysis of MRI patterns of patients undergoing long-term interferon beta-1b therapy. The results show that on close monthly MRI inspection, approximately half of the patients fail therapy from an MRI perspective," the researchers wrote.

Rodriguez thinks that one day doctors will be able to distinguish the various types of MS and develop specific treatments for each type. "For each type, we find the same thing -- certain patients are responders, and certain patients are non-responders. Different groups respond to different forms of therapy," he said.

Patricia O'Looney, director of biomedical research programs at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said she thought the study was too small to draw definitive conclusions.

"It is a challenge to know who is going to respond to interferon," O'Looney said. "It would be interesting if there are some markers of who will respond to one therapy versus another."

O'Looney noted that there are different disease courses to MS. "The challenge is to find a marker, something that we can measure, that can predict the disease course and progression of an individual," she said.

That ability could translate into individualized therapy, O'Looney said. "We could be more aggressive in our treatment," she added.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health calls MS an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that can range from relatively benign to somewhat disabling to devastating, as communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted. Many researchers suspect that MS is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. In the case of MS, it is myelin -- the insulating layer around nerves, including those in the brain and spinal cord -- that comes under assault.

More information

For more on MS, visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

SOURCES: Moses Rodriguez, M.D., professor of neurology and immunology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Patricia O'Looney, Ph.D., director, biomedical research programs, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York City; Nov. 10, 2008, Archives of Neurology, online

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Laser Spine Institute Helping Patients to "Stand Up and Be Free" from Debilitating Back Pain
2. Exercise improves quality of life for heart failure patients
3. Messages of hope work better in motivating black patients to seek early screening for cancer
4. Idea to Arm Cancer Patients with Information Specific to Their Disease and Treatment Receives Nod, Grant from American Cancer Society
5. US FDA Approves 30-Minute Onset of Action for Focalin(R) XR, Bringing Potential Benefits to ADHD Patients During Early Morning Period
6. Study Questions Screening Heart Attack Patients for Depression
7. New study: A Common Class of GI Medications Reduce Protection Against Heart Attack in Patients Taking Widely Prescribed Cardiovascular Drug
8. Exercise is safe, improves outcomes for patients with heart failure
9. Heart Failure Patients With Normal Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction Dont Benefit From Treatment With Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker
10. Exercise is Safe, Improves Outcomes for Heart Failure Patients
11. Interferon Reduces, Eliminates Viral Infections in Heart Failure Patients
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... On November 23rd 2015 Cozy Products, a division of Bird-X ... Products explains what this means for business moving forward. , The Tri Lite heater ... model: to sell personal heaters that reduce energy consumption, are economical and keep people ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... SCOTTSDALE, AZ) ... plastic surgeon specializing in both surgical and non-surgical treatments, announced the expansion of ... Hobgood Facial Plastic Surgery. , Highly trained and nationally recognized for his ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Brillianteen, McGaw ... and learning in its 65th Anniversary Brillianteen Revue, scheduled for March 4-6, 2016. ... For 65 years, Brillianteen has been a treasured tradition for numerous families in ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... , ... “While riding the bus, I saw a passenger in a wheelchair ... to be a convenient and comfortable way to protect them from bad weather, so ... safely travel during cold or inclement weather. In doing so, it ensures that the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Missouri (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... HEAL, will provide scholarships for people struggling with eating disorders as a result ... from the second annual event, held at Fox Run Golf Club in Eureka, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 AAIPharma ... planned investment of at least $15.8  Million to ... Wilmington, NC . The expansion will ... to meet the growing demands of the pharmaceutical ... site expansion will provide up to 40,000 ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ) today announced that it ... State Attorney General,s Office to end the litigation ... with the Attorney General over the decision of Forest Laboratories, ... the now generic version of memantine immediate release tablets.  Under ... its counterclaims against New York , and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... USP 800 applies to all healthcare ... pharmacy technicians, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, home healthcare ... covers all entities which store, prepare, transport, or ... institutions, patient treatment clinics, physicians, practice facilities, and ... --> What is the purpose of USP ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: