Social trends: alemtuzumab vs. CCSVI

In response to a comment yesterday about alemtuzumab being a social phenomenon I did some on-line research using Google Trends to compare alemtuzumab to CCSVI. 

Methods: I used the search terms alemtuzumab, campath, campath-1h and Lemtrada to capture most of the MS-related searches in connection with alemtuzumab and MS and compared it to CCSVI. The graph below compares the search volume index of alemtuzumab to CCSVI. To make the graphs readable I had to do a log conversion of the search volumes, which are given by week. To do the log conversion I simply added 1 to each value and then took the natural logarithm of the converted value. You need to add 1 to convert all the zeroes to 1. If you remember your maths from school you can't take a logarithm of zero. This simple trick of adding 1 to all values simply shifts them up by one, which then allows you to take to logarithm. A logarithmic conversion shrinks the values, or brings them closer together, to allow you to compare them visually. What you have to remember that small differences are in fact large differences.

Results: The search volume index of alemtuzumab is pulsatile and when it does increase it dwarfs that of CCSVI. The peaks in alemtuzumab searches are linked to specific news events. Please note the recent surge in the volume of searches, which is related to the withdrawal of the oncology version of alemtuzumab and the recent FDA refuse to file letter. 

Conclusion: Yes, alemtuzumab is a social phenomenon, but its pattern of interest, as defined by Google Trends, differs to that of CCSVI. The alemtuzumab search volume is occurring at several orders of magnitude greater than CCSVI and the pattern of searching is occurring in bursts.  In comparison CCSVI, had a peak that was actually quite small, which is now waning rapidly. These results are reassuring and it shows that the MS community is much more interested in alemtuzumab than to CCSVI.

"Are you surprised by these results?"

"Google Trends is a wonderful tool and I may start using more than I have in the past!"

Recent posts of interest in relation to alemtuzumab:

14 hours ago
It put back the cladribine application 6 months in the US and delayed the FDA decision until after the EMA decision. I believe the negative EMA decision affected the FDA's decision. Let's hope that Alemtuzumab does not go ...
21 Aug 2012
"Yesterday's post on the withdrawal of alemtuzumab to prevent off-license use of the oncology version of alemtuzumab (Mabcampath) resulted in a flurry of discussion and criticism. With some of the latter occurring off-line.
22 Aug 2012
Alemtuzumab remains in the news. Sanofi pulls Campath to clear way for higher-priced Lemtrada FiercePharma. Genzyme has been developing Campath-slash-Lemtrada for MS, hoping to become a big player in that disease ...
21 Aug 2012
Alemtuzumab is being pulled in the US as well. (Reuters) - Sanofi's rare disease unit Genzyme is pulling leukaemia drug Campath to prepare for its launch under a different dosage and as a multiple sclerosis treatment that ...

20 Aug 2012
This means that alemtuzumab will no longer be available as a licensed product in the UK once existing supplies run out. This action is not being taken for any reasons related to product safety, efficacy or supply, but as part of ...
11 Jun 2012
I see that 74% of alemtuzumab treated patients are CDA free at 2 years, but only 51% are MRI activity free. Would you expect this MRI activity to result in CDA at some later stage, or do you think the MRI activity would reduce ...
21 Aug 2012
When alemtuzumab-treated MSer's immune systems recover or reboot themselves, it begins to attack other parts of their body; most commonly the thyroid gland. Dr Coles, in Cambridge, believes that they can reduce the risk ...
13 Apr 2012
Conversely, mean magnetization transfer ratio was stable in 20 alemtuzumab-treated patients (grey matter: -0.01 pu/year, p = 0.87; white matter: -0.02 pu/year, p = 0.51). The gradient difference in grey matter was 0.25 pu/year ...

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