A new research study being conducted at The Wesley Research Institute (WRI) aims to stop the progression of early active stage Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in its tracks.
There are currently more than 2.5 million people worldwide with MS, a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system.
They suffer from a range of debilitating symptoms including impaired gait and mobility, bladder and bowel dysfunction, cognitive and visual impairment, and profound muscle weakness.
Principal Investigator of the project at the WRI, Dr Pamela McCombe, is a neurologist at both The Wesley Hospital and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, and also Chairman of the WRI Research Committee.
"This study might prove to be the strongest, most effective treatment of MS ever."
"Current treatments for MS only reduce the progression rate of the disease. This new treatment, if successful, will actually halt the progression of MS."
"Not only does it aim to stop MS in its tracks but it will also spare MS sufferers from weekly injections replacing them with infusions over three consecutive days every year."
"The medication targets lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) to decrease the inflammatory reaction responsible for the progression of MS."
Preliminary studies have demonstrated that as a result of this medication sufferers have experienced fewer disease relapses, a decrease in the formation of central nervous system lesions and a reduction in cumulative disabilities.
"This suggests to me that there is every chance this medication will prove successful and become widely used."
This is an international study involving 200 sites. The WRI is one of fifteen sites in Australia to trial this new treatment, and one of only two in Queensland. The other site is the Gold Coast Hospital.
The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Queensland said in a statement: "The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Queensland welcomes the participation of local researchers in ground breaking research that may one day provide freedom from MS for the thousands of Australians living with this disease, and endorses the quality of the contribution of Queensland research in this exciting world-wide effort."
This MS study forms part of the WRI's commitment to furthering neurological research, which also includes research into better treatment and diagnoses of brain tumours and stroke.
The WRI is currently recruiting volunteers for this study. For more information on please call the WRI's Clinical Trials Centre on 07 3232 7920 or visit www.wesleyresearch.org.au. The research study is ethically approved and there are no costs associated with participation.
The Wesley Research Institute is an independent, not-for-profit medical research institute based in Brisbane that conducts research that that aims for immediate improvements to quality of life through better diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.