In Australia, medical researchers at Sydney University are claiming they've made a breakthrough in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
SV ZOOM INTO SCU Patient at Sydney University wearing early detection device over head.
CU & SV Screen to detect presence of multiple sclerosis and patient facing screen. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Patient lying in hospital bed with plastic tubes leading to equipment at bedside. (4 SHOTS)
CU PULL BACK TO SV Blood separation units in operation. (2 SHOTS)
SV Sufferer being injected with new extract.
SV Sydney University research team during news conference to announce discovery. (2 SHOTS)
SCU Professor James McLeod speaking in English
PRICE: "There's a variety of research into multiple sclerosis at Sydney University. This is an early detection system for the disease. The patient is having the performance of her optic nerve tested.
"Slow reactions can suggest an early onset of the disease. But it's the work on the treatment of multiple sclerosis that's causing the most excitement at the university. The treatment's based on the theory that multiple sclerosis could be a virus, which most people are immune to. So, what the research team has been trying to do is to restore immunity to sufferers of the disease. They do this by taking blood from a healthy person who lives with the sufferer. The blood goes through a celltrifuge which extracts the white blood cells which have been keeping the person immune.
This work's done by the Red Cross. At the university, the white cells are then processed into a soluble extract called a Transfer Factor. It's this extract, which the team says has no harmful side effects, which has been used in a trial over the past two years. Sixty sufferers from the disease were involved in the trial. Half were injected with the extract. The others just a saline solution. After eighteen months, the patients on the extract had done much better. In announcing their results today, however, the research team were anxious that the treatment should not be thought of as a cure.
MCLEOD: "This is not a cure for multiple sclerosis. It's a form of treatment which has slowed down progression of the disease -- not stopped it, slowed it down in people who are mildly disabled. And I think it's probably of some advantage to people who are newly diagnosed as having definite multiple sclerosis, and who have mild forms of disability."
REPORTER: ROGER PRICE
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Background: In Australia, medical researchers at Sydney University are claiming they've made a breakthrough in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The disease occurs all over the world, and its causes are unknown. A mysterious agent attacks the covering sheath of nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord. It brings on a temporary interruption of nervous impulses, especially in pathways concerned with vision, sensation and the use of limbs. The Sydney researchers stress they have not found a cure, as Roger Price of the Australian Broadcasting Commission reports.