January 29, 2004
Multiple Sclerosis Society
National media coverage of a potential MS drug treatment derived from goat serum has attracted considerable interest.
A placebo controlled, double-blind randomised trial of the drug is being carried out by Dr David Barnes at the Atkinson Morley Wing of St George's Hospital in Tooting, London SW17.
Anyone wishing to be considered must have secondary progressive MS. They must be able to walk but to have noticed a significant decline over the last year. This must be confirmed by their neurologist who should be asked to write a letter of referral to Dr Barnes. Direct applications cannot be accepted.
Those taking part must be prepared to attend the hospital once a week for at least six months and so preference will be given for the time being to people living in the London area. Unfortunately this study will be limited to 50 volunteers.
What is the drug?
A pharmaceutical development company called Daval International have taken up a drug, originally developed by Professor Angus Dalgleish of St. George's Hospital Medical School in London to treat HIV/AIDS.
This drug uses polyclonal antibodies from the serum (the fluid portion of blood) of goats that have been inoculated with a variety of vaccines, to generate neutralising antibodies. Polyclonal antibodies are proteins produced by white blood cells in response to an antigen (foreign protein). Different antibodies in the group recognise different parts of the antigen, and destroy/neutralise it.
Although the drug did not work well enough to justify development as a HIV/AIDS drug, the strong anti-inflammatory component of the serum is thought by researchers to be 'potentially useful' in the treatment of MS. This has led to the design of the clinical trial described above.
No published data is available in relation to this drug and it's effects
on MS. The MS Society is currently in contact with the researchers leading
on the trial, and the company involved.
Copyright © 2004, Multiple Sclerosis Society