NMSS Promise 2010 Update

#MSBlog: NMSS Promise 2010: Did we break our promises?

"I am about to leave Los Angeles. As promised I have uploaded my slides from last night's talk."

"I spoke at the Southern California Chapter of the NMSS annual golden circle fund raising dinner last night. I last did this in 2008 and saw some familiar faces in the audience. I was particularly impressed by hearing that this chapter raised over $3M for the Promise 2010 initiative. Well done!"

"I also had the opportunity to touch base with the wonderful staff of the Southern Californian Chapter - appreciative, friendly, hospitable, hard-working and simply great hosts. I shared the platform with Cyndi Zagieboylo, the NMSS's CEO;  a very impressive lady with vision and lots of experience in the field.  She was also sporting a very cool haircut, as one observer put it, but that is another, very inspirational, story! The NMSS are very fortunate to have her."

"I challenged the audience to judge whether or not we have broken our promises! Some readers of this blog clearly think we have not delivered on the promise."

"I tried to structure the talk around the four aims of our research programme, presenting a  narrative around each aim. In preparing the talk I realise, with some pride, that we have delivered on all of our aims, to a greater or lesser extent. The fact that we have 3 follow-on phase two clinical studies addressing neuroprotection in MS and three follow-on basic science grants is testament to the success of our programme. However, we have yet to deliver a treatment for progressive MSers, which is why some MSers think we have failed them. I think the latter is more to do with unrealistic expectations. We never once said in our application or in discussions with MSers  and the NMSS that we would have a treatment for progressive MS after only 5 years. This is far too short a time to deliver a treatment. I therefore used the development programme of fingolimod to illustrate the point that it takes decades to develop treatments. For example, it took 18 years from the time the fingolimod molecule was discovered to it becoming licensed as a treatment for MS. Innovations entering clinical practice today started in the laboratory 15-20 years ago. The simple reality of scientific progress is that it takes a relatively long time to deliver tangible benefits for people with disease."
"At the end of the talk I presented the headline results of Dr Jeremy Chataway and colleagues Simvastatin SPMS trial and the problem we will face getting funding for the required phase 3 studies and the hurdles getting the drug, and related drugs, licensed for MS as they are now off patent. I also had some discussion after the talk about how the current system does not support the repurposing of off-patent drugs. If we could solve this problem we would definitely be able to accelerate drug development for progressive MSers. 

"Dr Chataway's simvastatin trial definitely comes a close second on my 2012 highlights list for MS after the publication of the phase 3 alemtuzumab results and the alemtuzumab submissions to the EMA and FDA."

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