Alberta Health and Wellness Minister Fred Horne welcomed news that the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is moving ahead with a request for research proposals for a clinical trial on Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency and multiple sclerosis.
“This is another important step to fill the evidence void that currently exists regarding the possible link between CCSVI and MS as well as the effectiveness of the Zamboni treatment,” said Horne, who attended meetings with federal, provincial and territorial health ministers in Halifax where the announcement was made.
“MS sufferers and their families want to know that governments are taking action to determine whether the treatment is safe and effective. This clinical trial, along with the current observational study underway in Alberta, will help us do that.”
Paolo Zamboni, a vascular surgeon, believes MS is not an auto-immune condition but a vascular disease he calls ‘chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency’ or CCSVI that can be corrected by surgery.
MS is described a chronic, often disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. It is also the most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and its unpredictable effects last for the rest of their lives.
Symptoms include vision disturbances, extreme fatigue, coordination problems, pain, depression, bladder and bowel problems and short term memory loss.
According to the MS Society, Canadians have one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world. MS is also the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada. Every day, three more people in Canada are diagnosed with MS, and women are more than three times as likely to develop MS as men.
The Zamboni treatment, which is not approved for use in Canada, is being offered in other countries to treat CCSVI.
The Alberta Multiple Sclerosis Initiative (TAMSI) study includes a self-administered online survey, available at www.tamsi.ca that patients with MS or related conditions, once registered, will fill out at six, 12, 18 and 24-month intervals.
The study will match up anecdotal information with files from patients’ electronic health records from physician visits or medical tests. –