The controversial “liberation therapy,” which aims to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by widening narrowed veins in the neck and chest, has been dealt a blow by its main backer.
A large-scale randomized clinical trial of venous percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) found that it is ineffective in treating the neurological condition. The study, published in JAMA Neurology, was led by Dr. Paolo Zamboni — the Italian vascular surgeon who first suggested, in 2009, that narrowed veins in the head and neck, a condition he dubbed chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), could be a cause of MS and that widening them could treat the disease. Read more in CMAJ.
Multiple sclerosis is a devastating disease that induces the body’s own immune system to eat away at the central nervous system, slowly robbing patients of their physical mobility. It is also mysterious. Despite years of research, the cause remains elusive, and treatments are few and far between. But new research to find the causes and provide innovative treatments means that progress, although still slow, is beginning to speed up. Read more in this Nature Outlook that I edited.
The New Brunswick Medical Society has asked the provincial government to stop giving money to patients with multiple sclerosis who want to obtain liberation therapy outside Canada.
Dr. Robert Desjardins, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS), says the therapy, which involves using angioplasty to open constricted veins in the neck and chest, has not been proven to be clinically effective. “NBMS always bases its recommendations for the use of public money on evidence,” he says. Read more in CMAJ.