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Hope for MS vaccine

13th January 2006

An experimental vaccine called NeuroVax, which works by increasing the number of white blood cells in the immune system to fight multiple sclerosis, has been having a positive impact in tests on patients in the US.

Symptoms of the disease, which include loss of feeling, vision problems, fatigue and weakness, are believed to be alleviated by the drug that is needed once a month and unlike many other vaccines, does not bring on flu-like side-effects.

"What patients want are treatments that are not only effective, but also are not impacting their quality of life because of side effects," neurologist Dennis Bourdette, from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, told

Researchers say the results are encouraging, but larger studies are needed before mass production of the drug can occur.

There are thought to be 400,000 multiple sclerosis sufferers in the US and if the vaccine proves effective, there could be calls to introduce it in the UK.