The first Saskatchewan resident has flown to Albany, New York on for the final stage of eligibility screening for a clinical trial of the effectiveness of Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) in relieving symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The provincial government has announced it has committed $2.2 million to have Saskatchewan patients participate in the Albany clinical trial to further research in this area and allow Saskatchewan residents to play an active role in MS research.
Andrew Dahlen of Saskatoon left for Albany to find out if he can participate in a two-year clinical study of the Liberation Therapy method of treating symptoms of the neurological disease.
“This is a ground-breaking day for our province and for science,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan comments. “I wish Andrew a safe journey and thank him for his willingness to help advance our knowledge about the value of CCSVI as a treatment for MS.”
All prospective Saskatchewan participants in the clinical trial must first be screened by a Saskatchewan neurologist to ensure they meet eligibility requirements. They would then spend several days at Albany Medical Centre, where a final assessment will determine whether they will be accepted into the trial.
Half of the research participants will have angioplasty to ease congestion in the veins, and the other half will not. This double-blind approach is a standard scientific method to ensure the integrity of the research results.
The Saskatchewan neurologist will assist the Albany research team with assessments, referrals and ongoing monitoring of Saskatchewan participants.
“I’m excited to be one of the volunteers involved, and to contribute to this research process,” Dahlen says. “I believe this research will provide information that will help MS patients in the future.”
An estimated 3,500 Saskatchewan residents have MS, which impairs or destroys the functioning of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The MS prevalence in Canada and especially the prairies is among the highest in the world.