Dr. Hendin introduces himself and discusses the newest treatments for multiple sclerosis.
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New Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis I am Barry Hendin. I am a neurologist who has been practicing neurology in Phoenix for about 35 years. My special interest has been multiple sclerosis and in that regard, I have participated in numerous clinical trials of emerging therapies in MS, multiple sclerosis. We, as a group, try to give back to the community so we are generally active in the boards of the affiliated illnesses that we treat. I am on the Board of Directors of the National MS Society, Arizona Chapter and I am on the faculty of the University of Arizona. Up until about 13 years ago, there were no treatments available in MS to modify the disease and by that we mean to reduce the number of attacks or relapses, and more importantly to reduce disability down the line. We now have a number of FDA-approved agents for the treatment of MS and again, purpose of those agents is to reduce the frequency of attacks and more importantly to reduce disability. There are five pills right now in clinical trials who are waiting FDA approval. We think we will see some of those this year, which will allow people to use pills rather than injectable therapies. They will come with varying potencies and varying risk levels so that the doctor will be able to match the treatment to the severity of the disease. Down the line, there are also strong infusion agents, that means agents that you give IV, and then some very hopeful things in the more distant horizon. There is two agents, one called Nogo, another called Lingo. Nogo is an agent, which hopes by blocking a gene to allow nerve re-growth. Lingo hopes that by blocking a gene to allow remyelination. These are the beginnings of repair strategies in MS. Ultimately, the Holy Grail is probably to find out more about the disease and why some women, some people are predisposed to MS and that means genetic vulnerabilities. Once we learn those genetic vulnerabilities, we may be able to ultimately solve the riddle of MS and prevent MS. This isn’t something that’s going to happen tomorrow but there’s active research going on all around the country trying to solve this exact problem.