Province to study controversial MS treatment
Updated: Thu Dec. 16 2010 11:19:24
It's what MS patients have been waiting to hear.
The province has announced it will fund a study on the controversial "liberation treatment" - also known as "Zamboni treatment" - to help patients with multiple sclerosis.
The procedure, based on research by Italian doctor Paolo Zamboni, means doctors use balloons to open up the arteries, restore blood flow, and reduce the symptoms of the disease.
"In my discussions with MS patients and advocates, researchers, neurologists and other medical experts, we agreed that an observational study would be very helpful," said Health and Wellness Minister Gene Zwozdesky.
"Our government is committed to help build the body of evidence that will provide a clear indication, one way or the other, about the safety and effectiveness of this new treatment. This study is an important step in that process."
The Alberta government will provide up to $1 million for the observational study, to be conducted by researchers from the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, and other experts.
Experts will study MS patients who have gone overseas for the treatment to assess safety.
The government has also committed to fund future clinical trials pending the results of the observational study, other research that is already underway, confirmation that the procedure has been deemed safe, and receipt of ethics approval.
"This study is a response to the remarkable interest amongst MS patients in the new MS treatment proposed by Dr. Zamboni," said Dr. Tom Feasby, Dean of the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine.
"It will help us understand the experiences of MS patients having this intervention, including any complications."
The three-year observational study will begin next spring. Albertans who have received treatment in another country, those who are scheduled to receive it and other Albertans with MS will be eligible to participate.
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