20131123

You Had Me Fooled

Tysabri, the monoclonal antibody which is used to treat my multiple sclerosis is not entirely human.

Wait...let me start over.

When I first received treatment for my MS, it was Avonex. I took it, and it was pretty miserable (side note, I heard the MS pill tecfaderia has similar side effects) having to take a weekly spear to the leg and having the associated flu-like symptoms. It really wigged me out when I found out it was a naturally occurring substance produced in mamalian cells. Poor monkeys (I assume). Never-the-less, it sucked balls and wasn't producing the results for which both my neurologist and I hoped.

Then came the Tysabri, which wasn't really a better solution for getting the medicing: it is in a hospital (or infusion center) where you get hooked up to an IV for a couple of hours. Needles, ugh. But, after time I realized that it wasn't so bad to deal with a once-every-28-days needle stick compared to the once-a-week impaling and flu-like feeling. Plus the added bonus of no noticeable side effect* and I was sold. I was under impression that monoclonal antibodies were antibodies occurring in humans - bzzzz - WRONG! It is a human cell that is, IIRC, genetically engineered with mice antibodies - 95% human 5% mouse.

It was Swedish scientists that revealed this fact to me in this report (CAUTION: Word document download).

* Once, and only once, did I experience any side effects from Tysabri. I felt really tired for two days after my treatment.