Thursday, July 16, 2009

An excerpt from an article on Novartis' performance in the first half of 2009. :

FTY720 (fingolimod), a novel oral development therapy for multiple
sclerosis, showed continued low relapse rates after four years in
patients with relapsing-remitting MS in an open-label Phase II
extension study. The data, presented at the American Academy of
Neurology (AAN) meeting in April, also showed no significant change
in the safety profile from three to four years. Data at AAN from
TRANSFORMS, a one-year Phase III trial against interferon beta-1a
(Avonex®), showed 80-83% of MS patients given FTY720 were
relapse-free for one year compared to 69% of patients treated with
Avonex® (p<0.001), with a safety profile for FTY720 in line with
previous experience. US and European regulatory submissions are
expected by the end of 2009. Initial results of the Phase III
placebo-controlled FREEDOMS trials are also expected in the fourth
quarter of 2009.

So, it still sounds like it's set for submission later this year, but then who knows how long the approval process will take assuming it will even get FDA approval?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Small wonders

Drat the fact that my camera has dead batteries. I would love to show you what I discovered in my back yard.

I have been lamenting ever since the start of summer that I live on a major road that goes through my small town and we don't have a lawn mower or money to buy one or to pay anyone to cut the grass for us.

Because of this, I have tried to time it so that I am only seen outside after dark so I don't have to see the stares of passersby who gawk at the incredible height of my grass which has now V'd off at the top and gone to seed in all its splendid glory.

I try to spend most of my time behind the privacy fence I once attempted unsuccessfully to scale and ended up hanging by my bra from at rush hour for all to see. That way I have my ... privacy ... with my backyard jungle where the waist-high weeds don't bother me nearly as much.

But, as John so often tells me when his eyes glaze over while listening to one of my stories, I guess I need to GET TO THE POINT!

Well, ok, the point is that the other day I decided the only way this last 10lbs is going to leave my body is if I do something proactive like, I don't know, walking. I decided to walk the inner edge of the privacy fence and maybe the tall grass would actually be beneficial by providing some resistance and making me burn more calories.

I have to be careful where I walk. There are pine cones and dead tree branches hiding in the tall grass waiting to trip me up. So I look down.

Funny thing about that. Looking from my back porch around the yard all I can see are flourishing weeds and tall grass that makes me feel ashamed and embarrassed. But when I waded out in it and began making the circuit around the yard, I found so many hidden treasures that mowing would have never allowed to happen.

All the weeds were in full bloom. There are white flowers, yellow flowers, purple flowers and blue flowers all over my back yard that I never knew were there. After making only one revolution of the yard, I had to go inside and get my 10 year old son to come out and join me for the hunt for the elusive flowers.

Some were flat and oval, some were on stalks that bloomed all the way up the stem. Some were little puff ball shaped things. Some were shaped like bells.

It was incredible. It was beautiful. And I never knew it was out there in my back yard.

And it never would have been if I had a lawn mower or could afford to pay someone to cut the grass.

So, once again I am humbly reminded that there are silver linings to everything and many different ways to view any situation.

I was choosing to be embarrassed and stress over the tall grass. Until my eyes were opened to the beauty cradled beneath.

Don't get me wrong... I still wait until after dark to check the mail.

And I would have run out to buy batteries and capture the beauty to share with you, but as I write this John has gone out and fired up the weed eater and decided to tackle the back yard manned only with that insufficient tool.

Our back yard alone has to be nearly a half acre. And he's gallantly swiping back and forth. Vanquishing the tall green foe.

Obliterating the small wonders within.

I wish he would have done the front yard, but no dice. He says he'd rather have tall grass than have anyone who knows him drive by and catch him trying to weed eat the entire thing.

Oh well, it's like my dad said when he built his house and didn't spend much time on it's outer beauty but made the inside look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens... "I'm not spending my time making it look good for the neighbors - I want it to look good for us."

So the back yard is looking pretty good -- even if the neighbors will never know.