All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for November 2003

New Survey Highlights Opportunity for People with Multiple Sclerosis to Better Manage and Track Disease Progression

Actress and MS LifeLines Ambassador Teri Garr Speaks Out to Empower Patients to Take Action Against MS

November 10, 2003
Source: MSLifeLines (Serono makers of Rebif)
Rockland, Mass. and New York

According to a new Harris Interactive survey(R)(1), people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) may not be taking all the necessary steps to manage and track disease progression. The findings revealed that 85 percent of people with MS believe they are doing everything they can to effectively manage the disease, yet nearly half of those surveyed who are on treatment agree that they do not know how to determine if their treatment is working well. In fact, while the majority of respondents know that MS can progress in the absence of symptoms and/or relapse, 80 percent of those on treatment judge whether their treatment is working based on how they feel.

"Since MS can progress silently, patients need to work in partnership with their physicians to take all the necessary steps to manage their disease including choosing the most effective treatment and regularly measuring disease progression with the available diagnostic tools, like MRI," said Mary Ann Picone, MD, Medical Director, Gimbel Multiple Sclerosis Center in Teaneck, NJ. "People with MS need to believe that they can have an active future with this disease and need to understand that the way to do so is by taking an active role now in managing their disease."

The new research underscores an opportunity for people with MS to better manage and track disease progression. Additional findings revealed that while 83 percent of people with MS were aware that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to measure number and size of brain lesions, nearly half say they do not receive MRI on a regular schedule and more than 20 percent say they never receive an MRI as part of their ongoing treatment for MS.

To inspire people with MS to seek the most appropriate treatment and utilize disease management strategies, Oscar-nominated actress Teri Garr travels around the United States as part of the MS LifeLines Ambassador program.

"When I was diagnosed with MS in 1999, I immediately thought about my daughter and realized that I needed to keep myself as healthy as possible," said Ms. Garr. "As an MS LifeLines Ambassador and someone who is living with this disease, I want to share my story and raise awareness of the resources and role models available to support people in the MS community.  My hope is to motivate others to proactively manage their MS now for the best possible future."

MS LifeLines, an educational support service for people living with MS and their families provided by Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc, is now introducing new resources for the MS community, including the Learning for life(TM) empowerment series as well as the newly enhanced website.  The Learning for life series offers an array of information to people living with MS and provides a jumping off point for doctors and patients to better communicate around the specific treatment needs of each patient. Specifically, the empowerment series provides in-depth information on use of MRI, parameters to consider in evaluating therapy as well as information on the disease and the different treatment options available for people with MS.

To receive the Learning for life empowerment series, call 1-877-447-3243
for ordering information.  The MS community can access additional resources and learn about educational seminars where people can connect with Teri Garr and other MS LifeLines Ambassadors by calling 1-877-447-3243.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic, progressive disease of the central nervous system, is the most common neurological disease causing disability in young adults. Although there is no cure, medical guidelines recommend early, aggressive treatment of MS to delay the progression of disability.

Multiple sclerosis affects an estimated 400,000 Americans, and every week about 200 people are diagnosed. Worldwide, MS may affect 2.5 million individuals. The onset of MS usually occurs between 20 and 40 years of age, and is twice as common in women than men. There is no cure for the disease.

While symptoms of MS can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include fatigue, loss of balance, bladder and bowel problems, spasticity, pain, sexual dysfunction, forgetfulness/mood disorder, and numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. Relapsing forms of MS are the most common.

About Serono

Serono, Inc., located in Rockland, MA, is the US affiliate of Serono, a global biotechnology leader. The Company has six recombinant products on the worldwide market, Gonal-F(R) (follitropin alfa for injection), Luveris(R) (lutropin alfa), Ovidrel(R)/Ovitrelle(R) (choriogonadotropin alfa for injection), Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a), Serostim(R) [somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection] and Saizen(R) [somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection]. (Luveris(R) is not approved in the USA.)(2). In addition to being the world leader in reproductive health, Serono has strong market positions in neurology, metabolism and growth. The Company's research programs are focused on growing these businesses and on establishing new therapeutic areas. Currently, there are over 30 projects in development.

Serono was awarded the International James D. Watson 2003 Helix Award from the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in recognition of the Company's outstanding leadership and highest standards of scientific and product achievement.

In 2002, Serono achieved worldwide revenues of $1.546 billion, and a net income of $321 million, making it the third largest biotech company in the world. The Company operates in 45 countries, and its products are sold in over 100 countries. Bearer shares of Serono S.A., the holding company, are traded on the virt-x (SEO) and its American Depositary Shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (SRA).

About Pfizer

Pfizer Neuroscience is committed to pioneering innovative therapies for neurological and psychiatric disorders. Pfizer's experience in the areas of epilepsy, migraine, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease has helped bring leading medicines to market for the treatment of these disorders.

Neurologic and psychiatric disorders represent an important priority in Pfizer's $7.1 billion development effort, with more than 20 percent of the research and development budget allocated to the development of more effective neuroscience medicines for disorders such as mood and anxiety disorders, migraine, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, restless legs syndrome, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, epilepsy and smoking cessation.

Pfizer Inc discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines for humans and animals and many of the world's best- known consumer brands.

About Harris Interactive(R)

Harris Interactive (http://www.harrisinteractive .com) is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, U.S.A., Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international research through wholly owned subsidiaries -- London-based HI Europe ( and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan -- as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of local market- and opinion- research firms, and various U.S. offices. EOE M/F/D/V

For more information, please contact:
Serono, Inc.
Michele Rozen

Pfizer Inc
Alison Lehanski

Manning Selvage & Lee
Michelle Strier

(1) These new findings were generated from a Harris Interactive online poll of 207 U.S. residents, ages 18 and over, who have MS, including 171 respondents who self-reported that they were on treatment. Patients were sampled from the Harris Interactive Chronic Illness Panel of respondents who have indicated that they have been diagnosed with MS. The survey, conducted September 23-26, 2003, was sponsored by Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

(2) Package inserts for Serono's US marketed products are available by calling 1-888-275-7376.

Learning for life(TM) is a trademark of Serono, Inc.

Copyright © 2003, PR Newswire Association LLC