April 11, 2003 11:38
A MULTIPLE sclerosis sufferer from Norwich is taking part in a trial of a revolutionary new treatment which is bringing hope to people recently diagnosed with the condition.
Patrick Cutter, 31, is among a number of patients chosen to test the drug Campath over the next three years at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
The drug works by stopping rogue cells in the immune system from attacking nerves in the brain.
Doctors running the trials, which are the first of their kind in Britain, hope the drug will help those who have not had multiple sclerosis for long by treating it aggressively before it has caused inflammation of the brain.
Mr Cutter, who lives in Hellesdon, was diagnosed with the disease 18 months ago after seeking medical advice for unexplained symptoms.
But a six-month mix-up over missing medical notes meant he only learned his illness was definitely multiple sclerosis in September.
He said his symptoms varied from day to day but when his MS was bad, it made a big impact on what he was capable of in his everyday life.
"At my worst I have lost my mobility. I have had difficulty walking, trouble with my motion and difficulty with my vision," he said.
He was unable to comment further as he is still undergoing treatment in hospital.
His brother Phillip Cutter, who is landlord of The Murderers pub in Norwich, said the family had their fingers crossed the revolutionary treatment might help.
He said: "Patrick is quite philosophical about it all, he says that there are many people, in wars and so on, that are in a worse position than he is.
"But they don't do trials like this unless they think it might work. The clinical trials of the drugs so far have been quite positive so we have got our fingers crossed that it might help."
Dr Alistair Coles, who is leading the trials at Addenbrooke's, said: "If you let multiple sclerosis go on too long then whatever treatment you give to suppress the inflammation in the brain it will make no difference.
"What we are trying to do is treat early and treat aggressively."
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