MS drug trial seeks subjects

By Sharon Salyer

Herald Writer

Volunteers are being sought by two Seattle medical centers for a test of an experimental vaccine to treat multiple sclerosis.

Swedish Medical Center and the University of Washington are two of six sites in the Pacific Northwest where vaccine trials are under way.

"We’re hoping that the vaccine either will prevent the formation of MS lesions in the brain or slow down the formation of the lesions," slowing or stopping the relapses of patients with disease symptoms, said Glenn French, clinical research coordinator at the University of Washington’s Multiple Sclerosis Research Center.

However, the vaccine has never been tested on humans. "We’re not making any promises that this works. It’s just a hope," French said.

Researchers hope the vaccine boosts protective immune system T-cells.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. Its symptoms and severity vary from numbness in the limbs to slurred speech, blurred or double vision, tremors, loss of balance, poor coordination and sometimes complete paralysis.

Patients with two of the three types of the disease — relapse-remitting and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis — are being accepted in the study.

Medical centers in the Northwest were chosen because an unusually high number of people here are affected by the disease.

Nationally, 57 to 78 people per 100,000 population have multiple sclerosis. In Washington, the rate is 150 to 220, said Angela Dettorre of the Greater Washington chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Overall, 10,000 people in Washington have been diagnosed with the disease.

The vaccine is made up of three protein peptides, each of which has been tested separately but never in combination, French said.

Eighty-four percent of study participants will get the medication, with the rest receiving a placebo, French said.

Participants must be between 18 and 60 years old, must never have used the medication Novatrone, and must be able to walk 60 feet. They can use canes or crutches but not wheelchairs, French said.

Patients who used the drug Copaxone, used in treating MS, can participate if it’s been at least 90 days since they’ve used it, he said.

Volunteers must have had at least one clinical relapse of MS within the last two years or an MRI scan showing at least one active brain lesion in the last two years.

They also must be able to travel to test clinics eight to 10 times during a six-month period and meet other requirements.

For information on the UW study, for which 12 volunteers are sought, call 206-616-8967. Participants would have to travel to the UW Medical Center at 1959 N.E. Pacific St. in Seattle.

Swedish is looking for an additional 10 volunteers, spokesman Ed Boyle said. Participants would have to commute to the Swedish Neuroscience Institute at 801 Broadway, Suite 830. Those interested in getting more information should call 800-331-7533.

You can call Herald Writer Sharon Salyer at 425-339-3486

or send e-mail to

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

Traffic moves along Highway 526 in front of Boeing’s Everett Production Facility on Nov. 28, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / Sound Publishing)
Boeing settles with Everett security guard claiming chemical exposure

Holly Hawthorne was assigned to Building 45-335 at the south end of Paine Field, while employees used aerosolized chemical sprays nearby.

A section of contaminated Wicks tidelands on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port acquisition marks next step in toxic cleanup on Everett waterfront

Private owners donated land near the contaminated Wicks Tide Flats to the Port of Everett. Cleanup work could begin within the year.

FILE - In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee is joining state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Democrats advance assault weapons ban, new rules for gun buyers

The measures passed a House committee without Republican support. They are part of a broader agenda to curb gun violence.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown and the victim of a brutal attack in 2018 answer questions from reporters on Jan. 27, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
White supremacists sentenced for racist beating at Lynnwood bar

A federal judge handed out stiffer sentences than prosecutors had asked for in a series of sentencing hearings Friday.

Most Read