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 May 13, 2005
Positive Trial Results Reported for Withdrawn MS Drug
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New results from a two-year study of the recently withdrawn multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri show it reduced the risk of disability progression by 42 percent, the drug's makers said.

Tysabri (natalizumab) was pulled from the market on Feb. 28 after it was linked to a deadly brain disease, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). At the time, makers Biogen Idec Inc. and Elan Corp. said they hoped Tysabri could eventually be found safe enough to return to the market.

Three patients who took Tysabri have died from PML; the most recent death was announced March 31. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 23 under a fast track program created for drugs that satisfy unmet medical needs, the Associated Press reported.

The drug was being tested as a treatment for the digestive disorder Crohn's disease at the time of its withdrawal, the wire service said.

The companies announced the new trial results Tuesday at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Miami Beach, Fla. The study of 942 patients also found that Tysabri cut the risk of clinical relapses by 67 percent, the AP said.


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