Highlights from the 2007 American Academy of Neurology meeting.
More than 10,000 practicing neurologists and researchers from around the world gathered at the 59th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is a professional society for neurologists and neuroscientists. As a medical specialty society it was established in 1949 by A.B. Baker of the University of Minnesota to advance the art and science of neurology, and thereby promote the best in Boston in April. Well over 200 MS-related presentations were made, many involving researchers funded by the National MS Society.
Follow-up studies of approved therapies Researchers reported on a follow-up to the BENEFIT study, in which treatment with Betaseron (interferon beta-1b interferon beta-1b
Betaferon (UK), Betaseron
Pharmacologic class: Biological response modifier
Therapeutic class: Antiviral, immunoregulator
Pregnancy risk category C
Action, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals) delayed onset of clinically definite MS in people at high risk for the disease compared with people who did not receive treatment. In the follow-up study, both groups are now receiving Betaseron. The results after one year show that early treatment with Betaseron reduced the risk for disease progression by 40%. The study is continuing for two more years.
More than 5,700 people have received infusions of Tysabri (natalizumab, Biogen Idec Biogen Idec, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) is a biotechnology company specializing in drugs for neurological disorders, autoimmune disorders and cancer. The company was formed in 2003 by the merger of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen and San Diego, California-based Idec and Elan Pharmaceuticals) in the U.S. through the mandatory TOUCH prescribing program. The overall rate of serious allergic reactions to infusions has been 0.8%--most of the people who experienced these had received Tysabri before its suspension from the market. They experienced anaphylactic anaphylactic /ana·phy·lac·tic/ (an?ah-fi-lak´tik) pertaining to anaphylaxis.
anaphylactic (an´ reactions after being re-dosed after an extended period without treatment.
Data from the AFFIRM trial, which compared Tysabri against an inactive placebo, suggest that the drug's benefits continued beyond two years. Tysabri continued to decrease both relapse rates and progression of disability.
Experimental infusions Two groups reported on studies of Rituxan (rituxumab, Genentech and Biogen Idec) for MS. In Canada, researchers studying the safety of Rituxan in 26 people with relapsing MS reported a significant reduction in relapses and MRI-detected brain lesions.
Researchers in California studying the drug versus an inactive placebo reported that the number of active lesions in the 69 people with relapsing MS taking the drag were reduced by 91%. They also had significantly fewer relapses. A clinical trial in the U.S. and Canada involving 435 people with primary-progressive MS is ongoing.
Tools to measure disease activity
The eyes may be the "windows to the soul," but recent research also suggests they may be a window to monitoring MS as well. Several investigative teams, including the Society's Nervous System Repair team led by Dr. Peter Calabresi (Johns Hopkins University Johns Hopkins University, mainly at Baltimore, Md. Johns Hopkins in 1867 had a group of his associates incorporated as the trustees of a university and a hospital, endowing each with $3.5 million. Daniel C. , Baltimore), reported on the use of a new technique called OCT OCT ornithine carbamoyltransferase; oxytocin challenge test.
ornithine carbamoyl transferase, a liver specific enzyme.
OCT Oxytocin stress test, see there (optical coherence tomography Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an interferometric, non-invasive optical tomographic imaging technique offering millimeter penetration (approximately 2-3 mm in tissue) with micrometer-scale axial and lateral resolution. ), which measures the thickness of the nerve layer at the back of the eye. It may prove to be a simple tool to detect disease progression.
Can sleep disorders Sleep Disorders Definition
Sleep disorders are a group of syndromes characterized by disturbance in the patient's amount of sleep, quality or timing of sleep, or in behaviors or physiological conditions associated with sleep. contribute to fatigue? Investigators using "polysomnography," a technique that measures brain activity, airflow and other phenomena during sleep, found that all 27 of the people with MS they studied had sleep abnormalities that could contribute to fatigue. These included obstructive sleep apnea Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
A potentially life-threatening condition characterized by episodes of breathing cessation during sleep alternating with snoring or disordered breathing. , delayed REM onset, and impaired sleep efficiency. The researchers concluded that people complaining of fatigue in MS should have sleep studies done to evaluate the possibility of unrecognized sleep disorders.
To read more highlights from the AAN AAN American Association of Neurology meeting, go to nationalmssociety.org/Bulletins, or call your chapter and ask for a copy.
To download the abstracts of all presentations given at this year's meeting, visit: www.abstracts2view.com/aan2007boston.