Areas of treatment

Biogen Idec's products and development strategies cover a wide field of key medical issues. With regard to different therapeutic options, Biogen Idec has its focus on the areas of neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune diseases and hemophilia.

Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological disorder among young adults. It causes central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction and inflammation is thought to be a key factor in the pathophysiology of this debilitating degenerative condition.  Although symptoms vary, people with MS may experience fatigue, blurred vision, numbness, loss of balance, difficulty walking and paralysis.

Who gets Multiple Sclerosis?
Patients are usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50; they are rarely diagnosed under 12 or over 55 years of age.  MS is two to three times more common in women than in men.

More than 2 million people worldwide are affected by MS with the highest rates in regions of the world with cooler climates or those regions farthest from the equator.  Northern Europe, North America, and parts of Australia and New Zealand have the highest prevalence rates with the lowest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What are the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?
Symptoms vary from person to person and include weakness or fatigue; numbness or tingling; blurred vision, impaired color perception or visual loss; poor coordination of muscle movements; difficulty with bladder or bowel control; muscle stiffness (spasticity); speech problems and challenges with memory or other thinking skills.

During episodes of inflammation and clinical relapse, messages from the brain become distorted, there can be a variety of symptoms that may fully or partially recover. Over time, successive events of demyelination lead to the more severe and persistent disability e.g.the requirement of aids for walking.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

What is Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is a cancer of the white blood cells of the lymphatic system. It involves B-lymphocytes or T-lymphocytes. The disease is generally classified into two groups, aggressive (intermediate/high grade) and indolent (low grade). The lymphatic system is part of the body's immune defense against diseases and infection. It is composed of lymph nodes which are glands found in the neck, underarms, groin, chest, and abdomen. The B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes are involved in fighting infections and are present in the blood, lymph, and connective tissue. In patients with NHL these cells are dysfunctional. The cause of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is unknown.

Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
The symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma include swollen lymph nodes (in the neck, armpits or groin), coughing, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, fever, profuse sweating (particularly at night), and/or sever itchiness. These symptoms may be mistaken as signs of non-cancerous problems like infections, making awareness of the signs and symptoms essential. There are no tests for early detection of NHL and an accurate diagnosis of NHL can only be made from a biopsy.

Who gets Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
The incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has increased dramatically over the last couple of decades. It is more common in older people and men are affected one and a half times more often than women.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a debilitating autoimmune disease that hinders the daily activities of sufferers. RA occurs when the immune system inappropriately attacks joint tissue, causing painful chronic inflammation and irreversible destruction of cartilage, tendons and bones, often resulting in disability.

Who gets Rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is 2 to 3 times more common in women than men (NIH, The National Women's Health Centre, 2004). While risk increases with age, arthritis is not limited to the elderly, more than one-half of the people who reported having arthritis were under age 65.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis
Common RA symptoms include inflammation of the joints, swelling, fatigue, stiffness and pain. Additionally, since RA is a systemic disease, it can have effects in other tissues such as the lungs, eyes and bone marrow.