Publication Date 01/04/2014         Volume. 6 No. 3   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Business is tight!
Cash flow has evaporated!
The PGA calls for unity while simultaneously dismembering the business of consultant pharmacists.
The federal government continues to strip massive funds from the PBS to the extent that it is gasping for air.
Oh, and I forgot, the Revive Clinic thinks that pharmacists cannot vaccinate patients in community pharmacies ( It is actually a warehouse pharmacy group trying to destabilise the market here to push fellow-pharmacists off balance by supporting the Revive group).
Even wage-earning pharmacists have discovered that they have not had a rise in their pay over the past five years

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Australian scientists discover key to halt nerve fibre damage in MS

Staff Researcher

articles by this author...

Editing and Researching news and stories about Australian and International Pharmacy Issues

Scientists from RMIT and Monash Universities announced today a discovery that shows blocking a specific protein may have the ability to act as ‘hand brake’ to the progression of the disease in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
These findings are published today in the prestigious journal Brain from Oxford University Press. The study was led by Dr Steven Petratos from the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories and RMIT University. The publication of this study is coincidentally at a time when Australians are asked to Kiss Goodbye to MS in many events leading up to World MS Day in May.

Dr Petratos, together with Jeremy Wright, Chief Executive of MS Research Australia, one of the organisations funding the research, will be at a press conference at 12:30 sharp at Monash University, Clayton to announce the results. NB there will be animation of the research available for TV and xxxx, a patient with MS will be present to discuss the implications of the research for those with the disease.

MS is one of the most common, chronic neurologic diseases of adults worldwide, affecting up to 20,000 Australians, with 1,000 new diagnoses made each year. MS tends to strike early in adulthood, with women three times more likely than men to be diagnosed. The total direct cost to the Australian community of MS is just over $1 billion annually.

MS is thought to be caused by the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacking the brain, spinal cord or optic nerves. The primary target of this attack is myelin, the protective coating around the nerve fibres, which carry nerve impulses between nerve cells. These attacks cause active MS lesions and the nerve cells themselves can also be damaged.

So the research team, headed by Dr Steven Petratos, has shown that a modified version of a specific protein is present within active MS lesions in a laboratory model of MS. This modified protein then interacts with another protein to cause nerve fibre damage. When the scientists blocked either the modification or the interaction between the two proteins, disease progression was halted.

‘Blocking the same protein in people with MS could provide a ‘hand brake’ to the progression of the disease’ said Professor Richard Boyd, Director of the Monash University Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories. Dr Petratos said that the particular method used to form the block has already been approved – for the treatment of other disease conditions – by the US Food and Drug Administration and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. ‘This should mean that clinical trials – once they start – will be fast tracked as the form of administration has already been approved,’ he said.

The research was done in collaboration with scientists from the University of Toronto and Yale University in the US, with major funding from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of the United States of America and partial funding from MS Research Australia. ‘This is a great step forward in providing better treatments for MS and hope for people with the disease,’ said Jeremy Wright, CEO of MS Research Australia, ‘We are very pleased to be involved via funding this project’.

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