An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration recommended approval of a new drug treatment for multiple sclerosis patients that can slow the progression of the neurological disease. The advisors reported to the FDA that Avonex should be approved for sale because it slowed MS progression by 37 percent. "Although not a cure, it is a significant advancement in the treatment of this disease," says medical writer Christine Gorman. "People with MS will tell you that if they can't have a cure, anything that will extend the remission period is a big help. Because good treatment has been difficult for MS sufferers, many have turned to charlatans for alternative treatment. The charlatans take their money and give them something that doesn't help. Now, at least there is something in traditional medicine that will help them. And until a vaccine is developed, these incremental steps in treatment will help people afflicted with this disease lead better lives." MS, which attacks the nervous system by stripping nerves of their protective insulation, affects between 180,000 and 300,000 Americans.