The Rochester Review, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA
As a center of neuroimmunological research, the University's Medical Center is, unsurprisingly, actively engaged in developing new therapies for people with MS. Currently, about a hundred patients are participating in MS-related drug trials being conducted at the center, reports Dr. Andrew Goodman, associate professor of neurology-neuroimmunology.
Rochester's geographical position along the northern tier of the U.S. places it in an area that shows a relatively high incidence of multiple sclerosis, Goodman points out. He notes that about a thousand patients with varying stages of the disease annually turn to the Medical Center for treatment. Three faculty members, a postdoctoral fellow, and three nurses staff the MS clinic.
Among the current drug trials going on at the Medical Center, Interferon Beta 1A is being tested as a preventive for people at high risk for developing full-blown MS. (Along with the drug trial, researchers are also looking at the action of Interferon and how it affects the nervous and immune systems of MS patients, Goodman says.) And there have been ongoing studies of Copolymer 1, a soon-to-be-FDA-approved drug for those with relapsing MS.
Rochester has also been part of a multi-center trial of a drug called Linomide, an oral medication for those with secondary progressive MS. Coincidentally, this drug is manufactured by Pharmacia Upjohn, the pharmaceutical company headed by Rochester alum John Zabriskie '66 (PhD).
Additionally, the Medical Center is the leading center nationally in a trial of 4-Aminopyridine, a drug that works on MS symptoms, helping to improve or restore muscle movement. (The drug is also being tested on those with spinal- cord injuries, Goodman says. Actor Christopher Reeve is among those trying it.)
Next on the agenda: a pilot study of a brand-new drug, Interleukon-10, to investigate what further help this newly hatched anti-inflammatory agent might be able to offer MS patients.
Copyright 1996, University of Rochester