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December 4, 2006

Sarasota's Roskamp Institute Announces Participation in Multiple Sclerosis Study

Roskamp Institute looking for volunteers for Multiple Sclerosis research study

Sarasota, Fla. - The Roskamp Institute announced today its participation in a pharmaceutical sponsored research study for relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sufferers.

While the Roskamp Institute's primary focus is on Alzheimer's disease, Roskamp researchers have a significant interest in MS due to findings that suggest there are some captivating similarities when studying the immune system response in the brain of persons with Alzheimer's disease and MS.

"The white blood cells, also known as T-cells, contain a surface marker called CD40 that may play an important role in both Alzheimer's disease and MS," said Dr. Andrew Keegan, an investigator in Neurosciences at the Roskamp Institute's clinical trials division. "Our commitment to finding cures to neurodegenerative disorders, such as MS, has led us to participate in this study sponsored by Novartis that will examine the use of a new investigational drug called fingolimod."

Research scientists want to determine whether the investigational drug fingolimod, which is currently not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, can help people with relapsing-remitting MS. The study drug comes as capsules you take by swallowing once a day, and has been given by researchers to more than 2,300 people in studies that have included healthy people, patients with MS, and kidney transplant patients.

Fingolimod may act on certain types of white blood cells that are responsible for immune reactions. Researchers want to determine if the investigational drug makes these cells move away from areas of inflammation and redirects them toward lymph nodes and other places in the body where they rest. Scientific researchers believe these white blood cells play an important role in the inflammation process associated with MS and this investigational oral medication may be able to help people with inflammation caused by MS.

"We are looking for volunteers to participate in this pharmaceutical sponsored research study to assess the effectiveness and safety of the investigational drug fingolimod, used to treat patients with relapsing-remitting MS," said Dr. Michael Mullan, director of the Roskamp Institute. "We hope by working with Novartis we may be able to provide our patients and their families with another treatment option."

To participate in the MS research study, please contact Dr. Andrew Keegan at (941) 256-8018. Eligible participants of the study will receive study related medical care as it relates to the research study (ie: physical exams, ECGs, MRI, labs, eye exam), study medication and possible compensation for time and travel. Participants must be between the ages of 18-to-55 years old, have relapsing-remitting MS, be ambulatory (some assisted devices allowed) and medically stable.

The Roskamp Institute is devoted to understanding causes of and finding cures for diseases of the mind like neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and addictions. The Institute utilizes a broad range of scientific approaches to understanding the causes of and potential therapies for these disorders with an emphasis on Alzheimer's disease.

For more information please contact the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota (941) 256-8018, the Roskamp Institute Roskamp Institute Clinic in Tampa (813) 979-2008, or visit us online at www.RoskampInstitute.com.


CONTACT: Sarah Bascom (850) 222-2140


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