ABOUT MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: Multiple Sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system. It affects the cells that allow the nerve cells in the body and brain to communicate with each other. The immune system attacks the protective myelin which sheaths the nerve cells. The cause of the disease is not currently well understood. The disease takes many forms, and can be progressive or relapsing. It can cause physical and cognitive disabilities. There is no known cure.
ABOUT FAMPRIDINE: Most current drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis target the immune system and the response that strips the myelin that protects axon nerve fibers like the insulation on electrical wire. When stripped, the nerve fibers are exposed and they release potassium, making it harder for the axons to send electrical signals throughout the central nervous system. Fampridine works differently -- it holds potassium in the axon nerve fibers, keeping the communication lines between the brain and the body open.
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.