HOUSTON (FOX 26) - We have results to share from a promising new treatment for Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, and it affects patients in our area.
A group of patients underwent infusions of plasma. Now they're starting to tell a difference in their disease. A blood bank called "NuPlasma" in the Texas Hill Country is helping patients right here in the Houston area. They extract plasma from young donors between the ages of 18 and 25, then infuse it into patients who have Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
"We're honored to be the study supplier and hope this study leads to more clinical trials, more results, more widely accepted by the medical community," says Andrew Wade with NuPlasma.
Doctors are closely monitoring the group of patients to find out how their disease is responding to plasma.
"We've had results better than we could imagine. We looked at 40 patients, half with MS, half with Parkinson's. Half got fresh, frozen plasma and half got a placebo. What we found, one month out, is a huge improvement in significant categories, so the neurologists look at MS and Parkinson's patients with their assessment, the patient's personal assessment and an objective blood test. In over 50 percent of the parameters, in fatigue, Parkinson's tremors, day-to-day activities, work movement, mood behavior, there was a significant improvement in the young fresh, frozen plasma patients versus the placebo patients," explains Dr. Dian Ginsberg, who's a medical doctor and specialist in anti-aging and regenerative medicine.
Dr. Ginsberg says they're hopeful those symptoms will get even better over the next few months.
"While we're super excited today, we'll be more excited in three months because if what we see continues, anything that was placebo controlled or we believe the patients may have thought they got the plasma - and ask 'do I feel better because of that?' At three months, most of the placebo will be gone, so we'll start to see even a bigger separation. The placebo effects will be even less and the plasma effects will be more," exclaims Dr. Ginsberg.
The Food and Drug Administration has been closely monitoring plasma labs and has recently closed some down that were offering it to be the "fountain of youth". Wade says what they're offering patients is different than that.
"NuPlasma performs tests, 17, where there are only 12 standard tests. Those five additional tests are actually our most expensive tests, which is probably why most other blood banks don't perform them. The reason is: patient and product safety and quality has always been at the center of our focus, so when the FDA brings up those concerns and did in their February report, NuPlasma was created to meet or exceed the things they brought up," says Wade.
Wade says the plasma is "off-label", which means they use an FDA-approved treatment, for an unapproved use.
"Plasma has been used for almost 100 years, it's used more than 10,000 times from the American Red Cross. Botox is one of those for an example. In fact 21 percent of all prescriptions in the U.S. are considered to be off-label," explains Wade. He goes on to say that it equals millions of prescriptions.
Patients have been more than willing to try plasma to reduce their symptoms and are hopeful their quality of life will increase.
"Hopefully in giving the young plasma with all of the wonderful protein and factors that it has, what will happen is, it will go to the specific negative of each individual person, and whatever isn't working will start working again," smiles Dr. Ginsberg.
Since half of the patients in this study were just given a placebo, NuPlasma has agreed to donate plasma to all of them, as well, and they'll receive their first infusion in a few months.