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    You are here : Home » Get Involved » MSRC Interactive » Help, Advice and Inspiration from people with MS » What Has Helped You » Medical / Supplements » Campath

    Campath

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    What is Campath-1H?

    Campath-1H is a drug called alemtuzumab. It is an anti-CD52 monoclonal antibody and is marketed under the names Campath and Mabcampath.

    Campath-1H is a potentially new treatment for Multiple Sclerosis or MS. It is currently undergoing trials in the UK, USA, Italy and Croatia to determine whether it can help those with an early form of MS. The drug is a monoclonal antibody designed to target that part of the immune system which is assumed to be harming people with MS. Campath's scientific name is alemtuzumab and it is currently manufactured by ILEX Pharmaceuticals and distributed by Berlex Laboratories. It has been developed for a number of years, and has already been used as a treatment for B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

    For the latest news on Campath please click here.

    David Sturt-Hammond - Campath-1H for Multiple Sclerosis
    CampathI am a 37 year old man, living in the UK. I was diagnosed with probable relapsing remitting MS in October 2001 after a fairly major relapse in July of that year. I had suffered some sensory disturbances a year or two earlier, but had ignored them thinking they were the result of a sporting injury. It was impossible to ignore the July attack. I went numb from my feet to the middle of my chest.

    Fortunately by February 2002 I had recovered fully from that relapse, and naively thought things would be okay for a while. I was wrong. During 2002 I had at least four relapses, possibly five, and my diagnosis became one of clinically definite MS. Whilst I recovered my ability to walk after each relapse, my stamina dwindled considerably. I tired more easily and found exercise and my aikido training more exhausting.

    I was considered for Campath-1H in August 2002. I was accepted for the CAMMS223 trial of Campath-1H versus beta interferon, but changes to the trial protocol and the unclear date of my first symptoms meant I had to be excluded.

    While I could not be included in the CAMMS223 trial, the organisers felt that they had promised me a treatment and therefore could not now ignore me. It would have been easy for them merely to exclude me and suggest I opt for beta-interferon treatment. Instead, they offered me Campath-1H on a compassionate basis, for which I cannot thank them enough. With hindsight it was a blessing in disguise. I was being offered the potentially more powerful drug, did not risk being randomly chosen to take Rebif (the beta-interferon drug chosen to compare with Campath-1H), and did not have to endure the ghastly pre-treatment MRIs.

    It's now August 2004 and I have had two doses of Campath. The second dose was better than the first, but neither was all that bad. I had my fair share of immediate drug side-effects, but think I was lucky not to suffer more. My asthma was more troublesome after the second treatment than the first, but that now appears to have been effectively controlled. Campath has also affected my tolerance of gluten (wheat, barley, rye and spelt). I started a gluten free diet after the first dose, which I'm still pursuing. I plan to 'test' my digestive system in a couple of months when I'm further away from the second Campath treatment.

    Overall I would say, "So far - so good". I feel as if I've been given a second chance. I'm very happy with the effects that Campath has had on my MS. Activities are easier to plan as the MS, and therefore my daily life, has become more stable and predictable. I've only had one very minor relapse since starting the treatment 18 months ago, and I'm hopeful that my predominantly relapse-free condition will continue.

    For more information, and David's continuing experience with Campath, as well as the stories of others taking this drug, please visit his website.

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