Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/8/2012 (3335 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba is still mulling whether or not to proceed with clinical trials to test a controversial treatment for multiple sclerosis -- 11 months after the cutoff for research proposals.
And the Manitoba Health Research Council (MHRC), which would oversee the trials, refuses to speculate on when a decision might be made.
"I don't want to give any more timelines because every timeline that I've given has been blown out of the water," said the MHRC's Christina Weise.
Seventeen months ago, after considerable pressure from people with MS, Premier Greg Selinger committed $5 million to conducting clinical trials on the worthiness of so-called liberation therapy, which unblocks veins in a patient's neck.
The province and the MHRC had hoped trials would begin early this year, but in March said a decision on when to proceed was six months away.
The MHRC's deadline for receiving applications from researchers wishing to carry out the clinical trials expired last Sept. 30. The council has refused to say how many submissions it received.
Weise said the council continues to work toward giving Manitobans access to safe clinical trials. She said there are ethical considerations to be solved as the trials involve invasive procedures.
Liberation treatment -- also known by the acronym CCSVI -- is unavailable in Canada. But that hasn't stopped an untold number of Canadians from spending around $18,000 each to have it done in such places as Poland, India and Costa Rica.
A Manitoba government spokeswoman said in an email Monday the province's $5 million remains on the table. She said the government is still optimistic "there is a credible research team that can offer safe clinical trials" for Manitobans.
In 2010, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall became the first provincial leader to announce funding for clinical trials for CCSVI. But Saskatchewan failed to get its study off the ground. Last fall, the Wall government opted to spend $2.2 million to fund the participation of Saskatchewan residents in clinical trials at the Albany Medical Center in New York state. The first of 86 participating Saskatchewanians travelled there earlier this month for the final stage of eligibility screening.