New treatment for multiple sclerosis, the Regional Authority studies the “Zamboni” method
The director of the Centre for Vascular Illnesses in Ferrara is in our Region. His trials will start in five private centres in Lombardy. Concern for the multiplying of non-coordinated research
Research, not a treatment. This is the starting point if we want to talk about what has already been tagged as the “Paolo Zamboni” method for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The doctor specialised in Vascular Surgery arrived today at the Regional Council in Milan to meet the members of the Health Care Commission. He presented his trials carried out in Ferrara in the Centre for Vascular Illnesses of the University that he is the director of. “In my research” he explains “I noticed that some malformations obstructing main cerebrospinal veins may be linked to some forms of multiple sclerosis. At that point, we set up a think tank of neurologists, vascular surgeons and radiologists. And that’s how we created the protocol that is activate in Emilia Romagna.” In short, therefore, the “Zamboni” method assumes a relationship between multiple sclerosis and Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficency (CCSVI – here is an explanation), that is the compromised flow of blood in the veins draining the central nervous system. For patients in these conditions, according to the doctor, angioplasty can make improvements.
The trials have already been activated abroad and in some Italian Regions, but they are still not in operation in Lombardy.
Up until today, in this Region, only five private centres - in Busto Arsizio, Como, Bergamo, Milan San Donato and the “Besta” Institute- got in touch with Zamboni and will start, according to a precise protocol, his trials. At the same time, other centres such as the Ospedale del Circolo in Varese, activated very few days ago a combined study for the diagnosis of CCSV (in this case controlled from the Italian National Health Care System, differently from the above-mentioned centres). This study is independent from Zamboni’s activities.
With the purpose of understanding how to run the research and the trials in Lombardy, the Commission wanted to meet Zamboni. The decision was also due to a circular letter sent by Fazio, the Health Care Minister, addressed to all Regional Authorities, and referring to the criteria they need to stick to in order to activate the trials of Zamboni.
The Regional Authority of Lombardy is moving, indeed, to follow in Emilia Romagna’s wake and to outline a protocol. Luca Merlino, the vice director of the Health Care department explains, “We are thinking about a network of three or four centres capable of carrying out the trials. Once we are “certain” of the safeness of the procedures, we will be able to finance the Regional Health Care System.”
The Democratic Party strongly insists on this idea of seeing the Regional Authority as “director”. Alessandro Alfieri commented, “Different protocols have been set up in a non-coordinated way. We need to be cautious and activate a director that can establish a connection between the studies (as it was done in the Ospedale del Circolo in Varese), among the research carried out by doctor Zamboni in 5 centres in Lombardy, and among the other trials developed independently by private individuals as soon as possible. All this would be done in order to avoid to feed the expectations of the ill and of their families, who deserve that the trials are conducted with the utmost fairness”
Gabriele Sola, a colleague of his at IDV, shares the same position, “It is essential to be in charge of a coordinating work among the hospitals in order to collect data and give scientific insight to the trials.”