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Mum with multiple sclerosis becomes first Brit to join ‘inspiring’ new drug trial

A mum with a number of sclerosis (MS) has change into the primary UK affected person to hitch a brand new drug trial hoping to discover a therapy for the situation.

When Annabelle Stigwood was first informed she was affected by the lifelong situation again in 2011, it was like “a bereavement” for her.

MS can have an effect on the mind and spinal wire, resulting in a spread of signs corresponding to issues with imaginative and prescient, arm or leg motion, sensation or stability.

Before her prognosis, Annabelle, from Great Dunmow, Essex, would recurrently run seven miles as much as 4 instances every week, based on Essex Live.

Now aged 39, she struggles with power fatigue, and might barely handle a half a mile stroll earlier than her signs kick in.

It has change into very troublesome for her to hold out any strenuous duties in life, and she or he used to battle even speaking about it.

She mentioned: “Before I was diagnosed with MS, I used to run seven miles, four times a week. Now, 11 years on, I can walk only half a mile before my symptoms start. The MS is slowly chipping away at me. When I told the neurologist I was deteriorating he said there was nothing more I could do.

“Being informed that felt like a bereavement and I couldn’t discuss it for weeks. I couldn’t bear the considered not with the ability to drop my kids off at college. After that, I grew to become actually motivated to do all the things I presumably can for my general well being.”

However, there may be now trigger for hope in Annabelle’s life, as she takes half within the new medical trial funded by the MS Society, the UK’s largest charity for serving to these with MS. The trial, carried out by researchers at The University of Cambridge, will check whether or not the mixture of two medication may help battle signs of MS.

The trial will mix metformin, a diabetes drug, and clemastine, an antihistamine, to see if they’ll restore myelin – the protecting coating round nerves which will get broken in MS. The researchers hope that collectively these remedies will probably be secure and efficient at repairing myelin in individuals dwelling with MS – one thing that hasn’t but been proven in a trial – and will present a approach to gradual or stop incapacity development within the situation.

Annabelle added: “I was so inspired when I saw the clinical trial and signed up straight away. When I heard I was eligible my husband and I celebrated with a glass of champagne!

“I utterly perceive there’s a 50 per cent likelihood that I might be on a placebo, however just some months in the past I used to be informed there was nothing I may do – now I’m the primary participant on a brand new trial! It’s given me a lot hope.”

Annabelle is one of more than 130,000 people living with MS in the UK. While there are more than a dozen licensed disease modifying treatments (DMTs) for people with relapsing MS, and some emerging for active progressive MS, tens of thousands of people remain without effective treatment.

The drugs that do exist only work on one aspect of the condition – the immune system, with no treatments to repair myelin in MS, despite researchers believing this is crucial to stopping disability worsening.

Professor Alasdair Coles, co-Director of the MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair, who’s main the trial, mentioned: “Today represents progress towards finding drugs to stop progression. For the last thirty years, we have focused on drugs to stop inflammation in the brain. Now we have achieved this, we need to repair the damage this inflammation does.

“The main way to do this is to encourage the brain’s stem cells to repair myelin. Several drugs can do this in laboratory experiments.

“We are now testing whether two of these drugs will help people with MS. The recruitment of our first participant is a huge milestone.

“We’re another step closer to a time where a person with MS will be given a handful of treatments to tackle all the different elements of MS, so that their life will be minimally affected by the condition.”

Dr Clare Walton, Head of Research on the MS Society, mentioned: “More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK, and while there are over a dozen licensed treatments for people with relapsing forms of MS, there are still lots of people without treatment. Finding treatments to stop MS progression is our number one priority.

“To do that we need ways to protect nerves from damage and repair lost myelin. We’re incredibly grateful to Annabelle for committing her time and energy to the trial. This new research really is a major milestone in our plan to stop MS and we’re excited to get the results.”

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