Tanya Basu writing for the Daily Beast highlights that MIS 16 was touted as a miracle drug that could potentially cure a severe form of multiple sclerosis. But it may well have been hyped up too quickly.

Federal prosecutors say a New York congressman who passed an insider trading tip to his son was spurred by news from a biopharmaceutical company that an experimental drug hailed as a possible miracle cure for a form of multiple sclerosis had failed its latest clinical trial.

The company was the Australian-based firm Innate Immunotherapeutics, where Collins served on the board of directors and was the top shareholder. As reported earlier this year, Collins’ involvement with the company was rife with ethical issues.

At the time, Innate was focused on the creation of a single immunotherapy product aimed at treating an advanced, debilitating condition called secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, or SPMS.

The product was called MIS46 and it could have been immensely valuable—to investors and to patients suffering from SPMS.

Multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that affects how the brain talks to the body, and vice versa. When a person wants to respond to some stimuli through movement—like look in the direction of a loud sound or scratch an itch—the brain-body connection is activated. MS inhibits this brain-body communication highway by turning the body’s immune system against the central nervous system, a complex network running between the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.

“The prospect of harnessing the human body to heal itself instead of subjecting it to toxins is tempting to researchers—and investors—the world over.”

The immune system’s attack instigates inflammation that destroys myelin, which can be thought of as a fatty insulating product that hugs and blankets nerves. As that process progresses, the nerves themselves start to break down. Eventually, the inflammation can even reach cells that double as factories for myelin, completely destroying the ability for the central nervous system to communicate with the brain.

At this point, patients start to experience symptoms, which can vary depending on lifestyle and genetics but include fatigue, trembling, halted speech, muscle pain and loss, an inability to perform basic motions, and vision difficulties.

Source: The Daily Beast

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