New MS drug called a 'game changer' - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New MS drug called a 'game changer'

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Mike Miller was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis almost 10 years ago. It started with changes in his vision.

"It took a few years and I went numb from the waist down," Miller said.

He is now one of the first patients in the country to receive a new FDA-approved drug called Ocrevus. The drug treats relapsing MS, which is the most common form of the disease, and also primary progressive MS, a severe form of the disease. This is the first drug ever approved for PPMS.

"We use words like game changer," said Dr. Aaron Boster of OhioHealth Riverside Hospital.

Multiple sclerosis happens when the immune system attacks and damages the central nervous system. Boster says this new drug targets an immune cell involved in the disease.

"What it ends up doing is massively decreasing how often people have MS attacks, massively decreasing the new spots that form on the brain and slowing down the progression of their disease. And that last point is something we have never been able to do," Boster said.

Steve Beanblossom is also receiving the drug. He'll need infusions twice a year. Beanblossom was diagnosed in 1986 and now uses a wheelchair.

"Just slowing down the progression, if nothing else, will allow you to do things that you are doing now longer," Beanblossom said. "I have some grandchildren, so yeah."

This new treatment also has Miller looking forward to the future.

"Camping and playing more with the grandkids and having fun," Miller said.

MS affects about 400,000 people in the U.S., causing numbness, vision problems, pain and mobility issues.

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