Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and debilitating autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that affects approximately 400,000 individuals in the United States and 2 million individuals worldwide. MS occurs in two forms â progressive (primary or secondary) and relapse-remitting, and many patients with relapse remitting forms often develop a more progressive, non-remitting disorder later in life. Although the etiology of MS is unknown, women and individuals of countries in northern latitudes have a greater incidence of MS; deficiencies in vitamin D absorption and some genetic instability are traits associated with the disorder. MS is a triphasic disease involving astrocyte activation that leads to inflammation and recruitment of activated T cells to the CNS approved seven treatments that target myelin repair and neuroprotection including Î²-interferon products marketed as Betaferon, Avonex or Rebif, glatiramer acetate (Copaxone), natalizumba (Tysabri), fingolimod (Gilenya) and mitozantrone (Novantrone). Many of these therapies carry warnings of serious and possibly life-threatening side effects.
Last date updated on July, 2014