According to a story from OMRF, things were looking dire for Tonja Martin after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This happened to her in 2010, and she promptly began to receive treatment. However, with her drugs running at a cost of $3,400 per month, her insurance decided that it didn’t want to help. She was having to dip into retirement savings in order to get treatment. However, everything changed when Tonja got involved in a clinical trial for an experimental drug.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease which is characterized by damage to the myelin sheath, a fatty, insulating, protective covering that surrounds nerve cells and allows them to communicate effectively. Although a precise cause has not been determined, multiple sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disease, in which a certain trigger, such as an infection, may cause the immune system to mistakenly attack healthy tissue. Smoking and certain genetic variants are also considered risk factors for the disease. Symptoms include blurred vision, double vision, blindness in one eye, numbness, abnormal sensations, pain, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, difficulty speaking and swallowing, mood instability, depression, loss of coordination, and fatigue. There are a number of treatments available for the disease, but no cure. Life expectancy for patients is slightly reduced. To learn more about multiple sclerosis, click here.
Her doctor, Gabriel Pardo, was the person that told her about the trial. While there are risks involved when getting into a trial, Tonja jumped at the chance to improve her predicament. After all, participation was free. The trial required infusions every six months, and after the second treatment, she knew that something was different; she began to feel less dizzy and unstable, allowing her mobility and energy levels to improve.
The success meant that Tonja continued on the trial until its completion, and she currently has free access to the treatment through 2021. She has been able to receive almost seven years’ worth of free treatment and is currently free of disease symptoms.
While trials don’t always work out so perfectly for all participants, they can be a valuable opportunity for patients to help both themselves and their patient community as a whole.