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Therapeutic Device Approved to Treat Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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By News Release • www.ProHealth.com • March 9, 2000


SUMMARY: A new therapeutic device, the Prosorba® Column, which removes harmful antibodies from the blood of rheumatoid arthritis patients, has been approved by Health Canada.
Presently the Prosorba Column is the only non-drug treatment approved by Health Canada to reduce signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients with long-standing disease.
The Prosorba Column treatment involves circulating a small amount of the patient's blood through a coffee cup sized column that contains Protein A, a substance that binds and removes harmful antibodies and immune complexes. The treated blood is then returned to the patient.

TORONTO, ON -- March 9, 2000 -- A new device, the Prosorba® Column, which removes harmful antibodies from the blood of rheumatoid arthritis patients, has been approved by Health Canada.

Medexus Inc., a privately held Canadian company based in Toronto, will introduce the Prosorba Column in Canada this spring. At present, the Prosorba Column is the only non-drug treatment approved by Health Canada to reduce signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients with long-standing disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition brought on by the body's immune system attacking cartilage, bone and occasionally, internal organs. It afflicts more than 250,000 Canadians, two-thirds of whom are women.

The Prosorba Column treatment involves circulating a small amount of the patient's blood through a coffee cup sized column that contains Protein A, a substance that binds and removes harmful antibodies and immune complexes. The treated blood is then returned to the patient.
Bruce Clark PhD, president and chief scientific officer for Medexus Inc. explains that the procedure is designed as an option for patients who have not responded or are concerned about the side effects of traditional long-term drug treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

There are a number of drugs commonly used to treat these patients but no one drug or combination of drugs is effective for everyone. There are also some risks involved in taking the drugs over a long period of time. "The Prosorba Column offers a unique non-drug alternative for patients who have failed on other therapies or who, for one reason or another, are concerned about traditional drug treatments," says Clark. "We have received Health Canada approval, and we are now in discussions with medical experts regarding further clinical investigations of Prosorba in combination with other therapies for rheumatoid arthritis".

Clark suggests that the Prosorba Column is not for every patient with rheumatoid arthritis.
"Initially patients may be treated with traditional drug treatments such as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or NSAID drugs. As the condition persists, however, they need to be treated with stronger drugs that can result in serious side effects. These side effects are a concern to many patients including women who want to get pregnant. They must be cautious about such drug treatments".

"The Prosorba Column offers arthritis sufferers an exciting and effective new option."
The Prosorba Column has been used for more than a decade to treat an immune bleeding disorder known as Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or ITP. It was approved for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis patients in the U.S. in March 1999.

"Arthritis is one of the most common causes of long-term disability in Canada," says Clark. "Medical authorities are still uncertain as to the exact cause but it can affect anyone from children to seniors. The risk of developing arthritis is higher for those with relatives who have rheumatoid arthritis".

"Most current treatments have centered around drugs developed more than half a century ago. The Prosorba Column is an entirely new way to effectively treat arthritis. We are confident that this device will bring comfort to those patients who do not respond well to traditional treatments."

Source: Medexus Inc.



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