of hamsters and hookworms

by tinglyfeeling on January 29, 2010

So I heard something crazy last week at my monthly MS support group. We were talking about drugs and why they’re so #*&^@! expensive. As usually happens at my support group, I learned things that I should probably already know.

For instance: did you know that Rebif and Avonex, the latter of which I currently inject into my thigh once a week (and as I write this, this week’s shot is waiting for me on my coffee table) contains cells from CHINESE HAMSTER OVARIES? Really:

AVONEX® (Interferon beta-1a) is a 166 amino acid glycoprotein with a predicted molecular weight of approximately 22,500 daltons. It is produced by recombinant DNA technology using genetically engineered Chinese Hamster Ovary cells into which the human interferon beta gene has been introduced. The amino acid sequence of AVONEX® is identical to that of natural human interferon beta.

I hadn’t actually thought about how the drug is made, just how it’s supposed to work. I inject it and cross my fingers.

Where do they come up with this stuff? How did someone discover that by using cells from hamster ovaries–sorry–Chinese hamster ovaries, they could make a drug that might slow the progression of Multiple Sclerosis? And why do the hamsters have to be Chinese? I wonder how long it took someone to develop this. Crazy.

And speaking of crazy, a friend whose mom has MS was asking me some general questions about my health last night and wanted to know if I’d heard of people treating MS with hookworms. Hook. Worms. Yeah. These guys:


Anyway, after reading the associated article, it doesn’t sound as scary as that picture looks. And I suppose if the hookworms really do chill out MS patients’ overactive immune systems, then go Team Hookworm. Still–eesh. That image is a little too close to the giant Dune sandworms or Tremors monsters for comfort.

I much prefer this kind of worm:

So, what do you think? Would you try hookworms if the side effects were manageable? Are you already partaking in other unconventional treatments for your MS?

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  • Lisa

    I'll pass on the hookworm and have a side of chinese hamster ovary please. :-)

  • http://www.tinglyfeeling.com tinglyfeeling

    ha! yeah. It does sound rather unappetizing. Still, it's pretty amazing what researchers will do to try to stop MS.

    So are you taking your side of hamster ovary with Avonex or Rebif? :-)

  • greenandchic

    Though its getting more press & attention these days, I'm going to go to Poland for #CCSVI treatment at the end of this year. It looks very promising. I would deal with hookworms if the side effects were manageable for sure. I dont want to live the rest of my life taking these drugs.

  • http://www.tinglyfeeling.com tinglyfeeling

    Wow–really? This is exciting news. How did you get signed up for #CCSVI? And why Poland? Must. Google. Ah: http://csvi-ms.net/en/category/content/medizin/…. Who's your doctor there? I look forward to hearing more about your experiences leading up to and after the treatment. xo!

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  • greenandchic

    Poland because its not performed (or yet recognized) in America yet. Check these videos out http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTV…

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