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Monday, April 23, 2012

New MS drug sparks Optimism

New MS drug sparks optimism | London | News | London Free Press

A drug called FAMPYRA, made to help MS sufferers, has been approved in Canada

Even as about 1,000 people walked in London on Sunday to raise money to combat multiple sclerosis, good news has arrived for those who have the disease and struggle to walk.

Canada has approved a drug called FAMPYRA, which may help people with MS gain better mobility.

Nearly nine in 10 Canadians with MS struggle with mobility and clinicians say the new drug therapy is exciting.

"As a clinician who manages persons with multiple sclerosis, the approval of this treatment in Canada represents a real breakthrough in our battle to help individuals maintain independence and quality of life in the face of a progressive neurologic disease," said Dr. Christine Short of Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS.

Those with MS also have a new source for information: is a Canadian online resource that provides comprehensive information and resources about the difficulties with mobility in MS and it includes daily tips, mobility polls, event listings, real life stories and free tools MS is an unpredictable, often debilitating disease of the central nervous system that attacks the protective covering, or myelin, of the brain and spinal cord, causing inflammation and damage.

When this occurs, the normal flow of nerve impulses along nerve fibres, or axons, becomes disrupted. Studies show that FAMPYRA can increase conduction along damaged nerves and enable signals to pass down the nerve more normally, which may result in improved walking for adult MS patients.

The United States approved the drug for use two years ago; Europe, a year ago.

Canada has one of the highest prevalence of MS in the world, with between 55,000 and 75,000 Canadians diagnosed with the disease.

Sunday's walk in London raised $192,000, about 5% more than was raised last year.