Lifewatch: Multiple Sclerosis

WILMINGTON -- About 400,000 people in the united states have multiple sclerosis, the debilitating disease that causes difficulting walking, loss of balance and vision, and an inability to control your breathing.

Now, a new drug is past the research stages and is into clinical trials currently taking place.

For Cathy Gregory, independence doesn't come easy.  Things like reaching into a cabinet takes every ounce of energy possible.

Without a wheelchair, Gregory is immobile.  She is fighting a debilitating form of MS known as secondary progressive MS.

About 40% of MS patients have SPMS.  Gregory has tried every drug available with no results.

"I was on Rebif and I was on Novantrone, which is a chemotherapy drug and I believe it was eight doses that I went through. It didn't work for me," said Greogry.

While there are effective drugs for traditional MS, there are no current treatments for SPMS.  A new injectable drug called MBP 8298 could help patients with SPMS.

Patients who have MS lose the neuron protective layer of myelin, which allows the central nervous system to send messages to the body.  This twice a year injection introduces a protein that helps the immune system build tolerance to the disease.

Neurologist Steven Choen said this drug won't offer patients a cure, but it could give them something almost as good.  It could be a few years before the drug is widely available, but current tests have been very successful.

Reported by Kristy Ondo