In this health video learn how doctors are testing a new drug that might dramatically improve the lives of those with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.
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Jennifer Mathews: For Cathy Gregory, independence doesn't come easy. Reaching into the cabinet takes every ounce of energy she can muster. Without this wheelchair, she's immobile. Cathy is fighting a debilitating form of Multiple Sclerosis known as secondary progressive MS, or SPMS. Steven Cohen: It's a slow, relentless process where they just get progressively worse. Jennifer Mathews: About 40% of MS patients have SPMS. Cathy has tried every drug available with no results. Cathy Gregory: I was on Rebif and I was on Novantrone which is a chemotherapy drug. And I believe it was eight doses that I went through, it didn't work for me. Jennifer Mathews: While there are effective drugs for traditional MS, there are no current treatments for SPMS. But, a new injectable drug, MBP 8298 could help. It's similar to an allergy shot. Patients who have MS lose the protective layer, myelin, which allows the central nervous system to send messages to the body. This twice-a-year injection introduces a protein that helps the immune system build tolerance to the disease. Steven Cohen: What we hope is that infusion of this small peptide, or small protein will prevent or stop or at least hopefully, slow this progressive downhill course that these patients have. Jennifer Mathews: Neurologist Steven Cohen says this drug won't offer patients to cure, but it could give them something almost as good. Steven Cohen: People can live a semi-normal, almost normal life, and plan for the future and know what to expect. Jennifer Mathews: Cathy is hopeful. Cathy Gregory: To know that this drug could start to slow down the process, that gives me somewhat of an encouragement that, yes, I can take care of myself. Jennifer Mathews: This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.