By Libby Smith
Walk MS Denver is Saturday, May 6 at City Park. For the second year, there is a qualifying 5K run. There is a $35 registration fee for the run; the walk is free. CBS4 is a proud sponsor of this dog-friendly and family-friendly event. For detailed information:Walk MS Denver.
LAKEWOOD, Colo (CBS4) – The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new drug to treat multiple sclerosis, and many in the MS community are calling it a game changer.
“It’s great,” said Anuska Ullal, a progressive MS patient.
Ullal is thrilled about this new drug, because it’s the first approved treatment for progressive MS. When she was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago, Ullal says there were only four approved treatments. Now there are 15 drugs to treat MS, including this first one for progressive.
“It’s just slowing it down, I just need it to slow down,” Ullal told CBS4.
This Colorado mom has a four-and-a-half year old, and plenty she still wants to do.
“There’s kind of a sense of urgency for me to kind of go down a list of things I want to get done,” Ullal explained.
The disease is beginning to affect her legs. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the protective covering of the nerves is destroyed. MS is different for every patient. Ullal struggles with tingling in her face and all over her body, terrible headaches, and lots of pain.
“I can’t feel my left leg from my knee down. Now, I’m not being able to feel my right leg as well,” Ullal explained.
In Dallas, Texas, Mike Miller is one of the first patients to receive the new drug. It’s called Ocrevus, and it kills the immune cells that cause the disease. He’s hopeful Ocrevus will be a game changer.
“It had the fewest serious health problems of any drug that we’ve studied,” said Dr. Timothy Vollmer, a neurologist with the Rocky Mountain MS Center.
LINK: Rocky Mountain MS Center
Ocrevus is an infusion that patients take twice a year. It slows down the progression of the disease; it decreases the number of new lesions on the brain; and helps the body repair the damage done by MS.
“In this drug, we expected to fundamentally change the outcome of MS in one generation,” Vollmer said.
Ullal takes a slew of medications to manage the symptoms of the disease. She’s happy to add this new drug. And she hopes that this first approved drug leads to more drugs for progressive MS.
“I’m very hopeful that my daughter will never hear those words and that her generation they won’t,” Ullal says of finding a cure.
Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.