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Only Half of MS Patients Respond to Interferon Therapy
Date:11/12/2008

ons, 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.

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