Monday, March 29, 2010

"Suzy's Cells are Better Than My Cells! No Fair!"

According to this CNN Medical Blog Post (which, inexplicably, is credited to the very famous Dr. Sanjay Gupta but is authored by a producer), a new study has found that there are two kinds of MS:
  1. One type that is caused by gamma-interferon-secreting T cells
  2. Another type caused by IL-17-secreting T cells
The study Dr. Gupta's ghost writer/colleague is writing about is from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Researchers examined the effectiveness of a beta-interferon treatment regime. Apparently, the two types of MS respond to the treatment differently in both mice and humans. (How did they give MS to the mice, I wonder? Or is that a stupid question?)  It stands to reason that, if you are undergoing (or considering) this kind of treatment, doctors should know what kind of MS you have so you aren't doing self injections with just for fun with no hope of slowing the disease. Unfortunately, they have yet to develop a simple blood test to determine which type each of us has, but the National MS Society is excited about the possibilities that this study presents.

Nature Medicine produced an incredibly boring video where the Stanford University doctor in charge of the study describes the research results in incredibly boring detail:

But what about the rest of us who are getting different kinds of treatments? Not to sound completely self involved but, does this new information mean anything for MSers who are taking something other than beta-interferon? Does anyone know of similar studies that compare cellular differences between patients taking other therapies? Or, are neurologists just rolling the dice when they prescribe drugs for us, hopefully not taking into consideration the really posh pharmaceutical company lunches and the hefty speaking fees?

What do you think?


  1. Julie, I've been to 4 neuros in the last 16 years that I've had ms, and, all of them have told me at one time or another, "well, let's roll the dice & try this (enter appropriate treatment here)...some things worked, some failed miserably. but you know what? that's just ms...the most frustrating disease in the's kinda a schizophrenic day it'll do this, the next day it'll do that...

  2. Libby,
    I think it's ironic that a recovering control freak like me ended up with a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of disease.

  3. The whole seat-of-your-pants thing is what drives me the most crazy about this fun disease we all have... When I had breast cancer the docs would say, "ok, you have this kind of cancer, so we're going to do this..." "your cancer is estrogen positive so you need to take this drug." etc etc

    MS is such an unknown...which is the main reason I don't study/research much...because you see all of these things that MIGHT happen but the docs can't even give you a hint that they will or will not. One thing I'm tired of hearing from friends and family is..."so, how is the MS? What do the doctors say?" The doctors don't say anything because they don't know anything and I have no idea how my MS is. (Sigh). :)

    I love your blog by the way!

  4. I'm enjoying reading the words of others who have this wonderful disease. It teaches us that, yes we surely are all unique! I have these symptoms,you have those symptoms and we both have the same disease!