Music playing I would now like to introduce a very good friend of mine. I’ve known Nan Luke for quite some time. She has multiple sclerosis. One of the things I did at the MS Research Center at UC Irvine which has really been great is I’ve opened the laboratory up to any patient with MS or family members to give them a tour, and Nan has actively participated in this, and she’s just been really somebody we can lean on with regards to her interest in multiple sclerosis research. She’s such an advocate for patients with the disease.
And is instrumental in helping raise support and awareness of MS research within the United States. So, Nan, thank you very much for participating today. I was diagnosed with MS about 30 years ago, and I look great. I am able to walk. and talk. but when I got diagnosed, my left side of my body went numb from the bottom of my foot all the way up to the middle of my chin, all the way to midway, and that’s almost 30 years ago, and it’s never really come back.
That has remained. But I got my diagnosis, and I did not know what MS was. I didn’t even think that it really existed, but at that time, I was just hitting my stride. I hadn’t paid off my law school loans. I was a litigating attorney, defending doctors, and professional liability litigation. I had the love of my life, and life was starting. And I. At that time when I got my diagnosis, they did an MRI and a lumbar puncture and said, You have MS, and there’s nothing we can do..
Living with Multiple Sclerosis Hope for Stem Cell Therapies Nan Luke
And about 10 years later in 1997, I actually started treatment with one of the injectable diseasemodifying drugs. There is no cure for MS, but the drugs that are out there And at that time, they were all injections. I’ve been on this drug, Avonex. It’s an interferon, which as you can tell from Dr. Lane’s presentation, it interferes or dampens the immune system. And I get injections, and it has slowed the progression, although from time to time, I got exacerbations. I sure didn’t let anybody at my law firm know I had MS,.
But I would get an exacerbation like optic neuritis. I would suddenly with no warning go blind in one eye. And in order to treat that, I’d have to take highdose steroids, and I still kept driving and working, but. And that would happen, and it would recede after a couple of months. Then I got, out of the blue, several years later, what they call the MS Hug, and that is your entire midsection I woke up one morning, and all feeling, all muscle control was gone for a section about eight inches, and it’s still gone,.
And the joy of that is you lose bowel and bladder control. Some of it has come back. I still have a neurogenic bladder, but as you can tell, many of these MS symptoms that we live with are invisible. The other thing that I found, after a few years of having MS, was I had excruciating fatigue. If I get hot, if I’m tired. The fatigue is something you’ve it’s like from the core of your body, and that doesn’t change, that remains the same. And pain. They talk about numbness.
Well, you know when your hand falls asleep and you get up and suddenly you can’t feel it at all, and then you start trying to get it awake, and it starts tingling that is numbness, like MS. And if your body is tingling My left side is numb. It has been numb for almost 30 years. It’s been tingling for 30 years. But all that aside, I’ve gotten progressive MRIs, I’m taking the medication, I’ve revamped my life. It has slowed down the progression. But the MRIs show that I have lesions and damage,.
And they’ve gotten bigger, and there’s more of them. I just had an MRI a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully, I’m going to be able to start oral instead of needle diseasemodifying medication, but that will be every day. But about six years ago, I got involved as a patient advocate at UCI Stem Cell Research Lab, and let me tell you. the possibility of stem cell therapy is huge. What we have now shots or pills daily is nothing like the promise of stem cells, and what Dr. Lane is looking at.
Is for people like me that have proven damage, and I’ve had it forever, is that there’s a possibility now with the stem cell therapy that there can be some repair. And when he talks about, you know. With MS, you get this demyelination and you lose motor skills and ability. Well, those motor skills include things like going to the bathroom. and also things like walking and keeping your balance and being able to speak, being able to move, and the possibility that there could be repair, and not only the stopping of this disease,.
But the repair is. I cannot tell you how excited I am. I think you mentioned that his presentation was electrifying. Believe me, it is the best possible thing, and your other question was amazing. The other thing I discovered was the serendipity of the science, that the inflammation process and demyelination. What helps with MS is also in many ways applicable to spinal cord trauma, arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease. There is so much overlap that what you’re funding in the stem cell therapy will help our group, and, yes, it’s fairly small compared to heart disease.