New hope for MS patients

Five patients from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are among the first in the country to trial an exciting new drug for multiple sclerosis (MS).

The hospital is one of only four centres in the country taking part in the study but the results so far are extremely promising.

“All the patients involved in the study have the relapsing-remitting form of the disease and all were suffering relapses at least once a year before they started the clinical trial two years ago,” says neurology research nurse Donna Clements. “Since then their rate of relapse has reduced significantly and some patients have not had any relapses at all.”

Mother-of-two Amanda Cook, a deputy sister on EAU (emergency assessment unit) was diagnosed with MS in 2004 after suffering numbness on her left side. “It was very frightening because you associate MS with being in a wheelchair and you think your life will never be the same again. In fact I’ve been very lucky because I recovered quite well and I’ve been able to carry on pretty much as before.

“Being on the trial is great because it’s a small group of patients and there’s a lot of support, not just from Donna and the research team but from the patients themselves. I have not had a serious relapse since I started taking the drug so I am very hopeful – although not complacent. I just hope the research will benefit younger patients and halt their symptoms at an early stage.”

Leading the study at NNUH is consultant neurologist Dr Martin Lee, who is launching a similar study this autumn for patients with primary-progressive MS, the most aggressive form of the disease.

“At the moment there are no drugs available for this progressive form of the disease so it’s marvellous to be able to offer some hope to these patients – although we don't know at this stage whether it will work for them,” says Donna.

Friday 2nd of October 2009 09:00:05 AM