LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 16, 2012) – Area multiple sclerosis patients have a unique opportunity to participate in a prestigious National Institutes of Health study with Norton Healthcare. Norton Neuroscience Institute is enrolling patients in a national trial to test the disease-modifying drug abatacept as a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). Norton Neuroscience Institute is the only facility in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio to participate in this national study, according to a press release from the company.
The National Institutes of Health has created the ACCLAIM study, a clinical trial to test whether the drug abatacept can stop or delay the progression of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Norton Neuroscience Institute has just enrolled its first patient in the ACCLAIM study.
A number of disease-modifying drugs have been created to slow the advance of multiple sclerosis. Each drug affects patients differently, some with more positive outcomes than others. Because many patients are uncomfortable with the side effects and additional health risks associated with these drugs, researchers are seeking a safer, more effective treatment for MS. Abatacept has been used in studies on several autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, but it has not been thoroughly tested for treatment of MS until now.
“MS studies such as ACCLAIM are important in the quest to develop safe and effective treatments for multiple sclerosis,” said Robert S. Tillett Jr., M.D., neurologist and MS-certified specialist with Norton Neuroscience Institute. “Patients who participate in these studies are medical pioneers. Not only may they help themselves by finding new treatments for MS, but the information gained from these studies will help the treatment of others who develop this all-too-common disease.”
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects 400,000 Americans, and about 200 new cases are diagnosed each week. Known commonly as MS, this unpredictable disease causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissue and myelin protein. Over time, the disease can cause complete loss of neurological function.
Norton Neuroscience Institute is involved in five clinical trials for MS, more than any other group in the region, the release noted.