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Biogen Idec Retools After FDA Clears Drug but Not Its Moniker

It seemed as if the Food and Drug Administration liked everything about Biogen Idec's new drug for multiple sclerosis.

Early this year, the FDA encouraged Biogen Idec and its partner, Elan Pharmaceuticals, to submit an application for approval a year ahead of schedule. The companies sought clearance based on one year of data from a pair of pivotal clinical trials, instead of two years, as originally planned. The agency said it would give the experimental drug priority review, cutting four months off the wait for an answer.

The agency's Nov. 23 ruling gave the companies the go-ahead to sell the drug as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with Avonex, Biogen Idec's big-selling MS drug.

Wall Street analysts called the dual approval a home run.

But there was one thing the regulators didn't like about the new drug: the name.

More here.

December 22, 2004 in antegren , avonex, follow the money..., tysabri | Permalink | Comments (1)

Gene linked to myelin repair in the brain

In a study published in the December 17 issue of the journal Science, scientists from the Centre for Brain Repair and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge and the Dana-Farber Institute at Harvard University, report that the gene Olig 1, thought to aid the development of certain brain cells, is essential for the myelin-repairing process in adults with Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

More here.

December 20, 2004 in myelin, research, worth following... | Permalink | Comments (0)

Five big medical, health-care advances for 2004

Promising new drug to treat multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that typically hits people around age 30, setting them up for periodic symptoms resulting from brain and spinal inflammation, said Dr. Richard Rudick, director of the Cleveland Clinic's Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research.

M.S. eventually disables people, robbing them of their vision and the ability to walk and function, he said.

"The key to treating M.S. is to have an effective mechanism to block brain inflammation and using that in the early stage of the disease before developing brain injury and neurological disability," Rudick said.

For the past 10 years, patients typically have been treated with copaxone or interferon, which can cause flu-like symptoms as a side effect. But last month, the FDA approved Tysabri, a biological product known as a monoclonal antibody made by Biogen Idec (BIIB) and Elan (ELN), and that seems to offer patients more benefits, Rudick said.

More here.

December 20, 2004 in antegren , tysabri | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jordan Sigalet announces he has multiple sclerosis :: Bowling Green senior goalie first diagnosed in March

Bowling Green State University student-athlete Jordan Sigalet has made public that he suffers from multiple sclerosis, an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. Sigalet, a senior goaltender for the Falcon hockey team, was diagnosed in early March, 2004, with this disease.

Over the past nine months, Sigalet has missed just three games due to complications from MS, including March 4, 2004, at Western Michigan, December 4, 2004, versus Michigan State, and December 11, 2004, versus #4 Michigan. He has spearheaded a 2004-05 campaign which has nationally-ranked BGSU recording its best start since the 1995-96 season and is among the top teams in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

"After discussing this with my family and giving it much thought, I have decided it is time to make public that I suffer from multiple sclerosis," said Sigalet. "By doing this I hope to somehow help others that have this disease and possibly learn more myself. The support from my family, teammates, and coaches over the past nine months has been awesome. I can't thank them enough."

More here.

December 13, 2004 in people | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mercury Fillings: They're Not Risky

Mercury in dental fillings does not cause Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, or other health problems, according to a new review of all current research.

But will this put to rest the concerns many people have?

It's a sensitive issue. Methyl mercury is the type found in fish, and has been found harmful to the brain in large amounts. The EPA advises women to avoid eating mercury-rich fish during pregnancy for that reason.

However, mercury in dental fillings is a different type of chemical compound -- an amalgam or blend of copper, silver, and mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal for more than 150 years. But over the years, concerns about mercury fillings have been raised, writes Meryl Karol, PhD, an epidemiologist with the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.

More  here.

Comments anyone?

December 9, 2004 in research | Permalink | Comments (0)

World's Scientists Admit They Just Don't Like Mice

Nearly 700 scientists representing 27 countries convened at the University of Zurich Monday to formally announce that their experimentation on mice has been motivated not by a desire to advance human knowledge, but out of sheer distaste for the furry little rodents.

More here.

December 9, 2004 in humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amazon Indians battle in Ecuador over logging

Me traveling with the Huaorani

Me travelling with the Huaorani

Penti Baihua, a community leader of the Huaorani Indians, knew there was more to the massacre of 26 members of a rival Amazon tribe than mere revenge.

In May 2003, nine Huaorani warriors from the village of Tiguino killed 26 Tagaeri men, women and children. They justified the massacre of nearly one- fifth of a tiny tribe that shuns outsiders as payback for a 1993 murder. But Colombian loggers may have instigated the raid so they could seek lucrative stands of Spanish cedar and a mahogany called aguano abundantly found on Tagaeri land, according to recent interviews with government officials, police investigators and several Huaorani leaders.

"They (the loggers) were scared of the Tagaeri and went to Tiguino," said Penti Baihua, a Huaorani leader who spoke with several of the nine raiders after the attack. "They told them: 'We'll give you gasoline and bullets if you kill the Tagaeri. We want to work in that area.' "

More  here.

December 8, 2004 in ecuador, follow the money..., Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Birth Month Seen Linked to Multiple Sclerosis Risk

People born in May in the northern hemisphere have a higher than average risk of developing multiple sclerosis, researchers said on Tuesday.

More here.

This is the most viewed and most emailed item on Yahoo! right now. I wonder why the wide interest.

December 8, 2004 in research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yoga and MS

I have multiple sclerosis and have been practicing Iyengar yoga for a few months. It's been very beneficial. Is there anything I can focus on to bring more progress?

Stretch here.

December 7, 2004 in complementary and alternative medicine | Permalink | Comments (0)