Research Brings New Hope to Multiple Sclerosis Patients
Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center Discovers Way to Fight Rare, but Deadly, Side Effect from Drug.
The side effect is a brain virus called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
“This virus looks like a multiple sclerosis relapse,” Dr.
The response is a series of plasma exchanges that filter the drug out of the blood stream, allowing the immune system to recover and fight the virus.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease where the body’s immune system attacks the protective sheath surrounding the nerves. Natalizumab suppresses the immune system to slow or halt the progression of the disease. However, if the patient contracts PML, the immune system is not strong enough to combat the infection, so the drug needs to be removed from the body quickly.
Dr. Khatri, medical director of Aurora’s Regional MS Center is lead author of the study published in the
In the study 12 multiple sclerosis patients on natalizumab underwent three plasma exchange sessions over a five-day or an eight-day period. By replacing the drug-infused plasma with clean fluid, Dr. Khatri and his team were able to get 92 percent of the drug out of patients’ bodies over a span of eight days instead of the 12 weeks it would take with no treatment.
“If something were to go wrong, now there is a demonstrated method to remove the drug from the body and help the patient fight PML,” Goodwin says.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates 400,000 people in
Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers care at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern
Aurora’s online newsroom: http://www.aurora.org/newsroom
The Regional MS Center: www.aurora.org/MS
SOURCE Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center