Wednesday February 26, 2020
Home Lead Story Australia Sho...

Australia Shows Promise In Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Further research is planned in Australia and the United States.

0
//
Sclerosis
Street artist Lydia Emily Archibald, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, touches up her mural aimed at raising awareness about the disease in Los Angeles. VOA

Australian researchers have made a breakthrough in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis using immunotherapy. Their world-first trial has produced promising results for the majority of patients enrolled, they said, including a reduction in fatigue and improvements in mobility and vision.

The treatment targets the Epstein-Barr virus in the brain that Australian researchers believe plays a role in the development of Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, a disease of the central nervous system. Immune cells extracted from patients’ blood have been “trained” in a laboratory to recognize and destroy the virus.

“What happens in MS, there is an immune reaction going on in your brain that is represented as if that your immune system is attacking the brain cells,” said Rajiv Khanna, a professor at Queensland’s QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. “Once that happens, your normal function in the brain gets impaired. We are trying to develop a treatment that could actually, sort of, make the immune system to work properly rather than going in the wrong direction.”

Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Kepler, NASA, tissue
A researcher takes a tissue sample from a human brain at the Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s UK Tissue Bank, at Imperial College London, Britain June 3, 2016. An appendix, often considered useless, seems to store an abnormal protein, which if it makes its way into the brain, has been found to become a hallmark of Parkinson’s. VOA

Researchers hope the treatment could stop the progression of MS. They say the trial is significant because they have shown the technique is safe and has had positive improvements in an autoimmune disease.

Seven of the 10 participants in the Queensland trial have reported positive changes, including Louise Remmerswaal, a mother from Queensland.

“Ever since the trial, it has just improved so much that now I can go out and spend time with my family and friends,” she said.

Also Read: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef To Get Help From Rescue Bot

Further research is planned in Australia and the United States.

The new therapy is developed by the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane and the University of Queensland.

The results of the clinical trial have been published in the peer-reviewed journal, JCI Insight. (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s Why Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain are Rising

Number of people with chronic non-cancer pain prescribed an opioid medicine increase

0
Opioids
The number of people with chronic non-cancer pain prescribed opioids increased in the last two-and-a-half decades. Pixabay

The number of people with chronic non-cancer pain prescribed an opioids worldwide increased in the last two-and-a-half decades, say health researchers.

Chronic pain unrelated to cancer includes conditions such as chronic lower back pain, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The research, published in the Journal of Internal Medicin, spanned eight countries and evaluated 42 published studies that included 5,059,098 people with chronic pain conditions (other than cancer). Two-thirds of the studies were from the US; one study was from Australia and the other studies were from the United Kingdom, Norway, India, Spain, Denmark and Canada.

“Over this period, on average around 30 per cent of people with chronic pain were prescribed an opioid medicine,” said study lead author Stephanie Mathieson from the University of Sydney in Australia. “We noted that a higher proportion of people were prescribed a strong opioid medicine such as oxycodone compared to weak opioid pain-relieving medicines,” Mathieson added.

Opioids
In the early studies, opioids were prescribed to about 20 per cent of patients experiencing chronic pain. Pixabay

According to the researchers, in the period 1991-2015, prescribing of opioid medicines increased markedly. In the early studies, opioid medicines were prescribed to about 20 per cent of patients experiencing chronic pain but the later studies report rates of more than 40 per cent.

According to the findings, on average over this period approximately one in three patients (30.7 per cent) were prescribed an opioid medicine. The study found that 42 per cent of patients with chronic lower back pain were prescribed an opioid andthe average age of those prescribed an opioid medicine was 55.7 years.

In 17 studies that described the type of opioid pain relievers prescribed: 24.1 per cent were strong combination products containing opioids (eg oxycodone plus paracetamol), 18.4 per cent were strong opioids (eg oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl) and 8.5 percent were weak opioids (eg codeine, tramadol).

Also Read- Here’s How Dairy Milk Consumption Can Lead to Breast Cancer

The study aimed to establish a baseline for how commonly opioids are prescribed for people with chronic pain conditions (other than cancer). But the authors discovered a crucial evidence gap in prescription data in countries outside of the US. “While we have sufficient data for this purpose for the US, we have little or no data for other countries,” the authors wrote. (IANS)