Dress The Heroes

12 with the work and people at the MS Center, which continues to help thou- sands of MS patients live normal lives.” Inserra was referring to Dr. Mary Ann Picone, Medical Director of the MS Center at Holy Name, who joined in 1992. At the time, treatment barely existed and hope was a hard sell. “When I started, the only thing we could give patients with MS was ste- roids,” Dr. Picone said. “Patients were admitted to the hospital with frequent relapses, sometimes as often as once a month. Now we have 19 approved treatments and we’ve made tremen- dous progress in improving patients’ quality of life.” Several of those medications, in- cluding Ocrevus and Lemtrada, were accessible to Holy Name patients through clinical trials years before they were available for prescription use. The MS Center was also one of the first nationwide to infuse Tysabri once it was FDA approved. Ocrevus has been successful in patients with relapsing forms of MS and primary progressive disease. Lemtrada and Tysabi are also very effective in reducing inflamma- tion in relapsing forms of MS. “From the beginning, our MS Center has been focused on providing treatment that is always a step ahead of standard care,” said Michael Maron, President and CEO of Holy Name. “Thanks to the support of our gener- ous donors, the perseverance of our dedicated staff and the loyalty of our patients, we continue to offer the most comprehensive care in the area.” Expansion efforts through the years have led to new treatment rooms, same-day diagnostic testing, the Cen- ter’s own infusion suite, psychosocial care and a wheelchair accessible van for patient transportation. In addition, the Center’s reputation for personal- ized and advanced care draws nearly 2,000 patients annually. Much of the research into MS has focused on stopping the inflammation triggered by the disease, and largely, these efforts have been successful. The current generation of oral, injectable and infusion medications has kept many patients’ illnesses under control. Next, the goal is to find treatments that reverse the damage caused by MS and slow the disease progression. “Right now we have one clini- cal study in progress and three more starting soon looking at medications that repair and stimulate new myelin growth,” Dr. Picone said. “We’re work- ing on reversing or slowing the pro- gression of the disease in people who haven’t seen relief with other medica- tions. It’s a hopeful time in the world of MS.” Above (left to right): Asya Wallach, MD, Mary Ann Picone, MD, Dana Jones, AGPC, NP-C