Sask. man begins MS trial in New York on Wednesday

A Saskatoon man with multiple sclerosis began the first day of the clinical trials for experimental vein therapy Tuesday in Albany, New York.
Andrew Dahlen and his girlfriend Amanda Olson in Albany, NY, waiting for the MS clinical trials to begin.

A Saskatoon man with multiple sclerosis will begin his first day of clinical trials for experimental vein therapy Wednesday in Albany, New York.

Andrew Dahlen, 28, is the first of 86 MS patients from Saskatchewan selected to participate in the two-year study.

The trial will test the so-called "liberation therapy," in which tiny balloons will be surgically inserted to open constricted veins.

All of the the participants will undergo the surgery, but only half will receive the treatment.

Wednesday afternoon, Dahlen will be given a drug which will cause him to have temporary amnesia — only a local anesthetic is needed for the procedure.  The drug is given to make sure Dahlen doesn't remember anything that happens in the operating room.

His surgeon will then open an envelope revealing whether Dahlen will receive the liberation therapy or not.

"It's been stressful, trying not to show it, but it's stressful," Dahlen told CBC News.

But Dahlen said he is okay either way.

"I feel like I'm doing something good for Saskatchewan, for research," he said.  "I also hope I get the procedure, but if I don't, it will be good research," he said. 

Dahlen won't officially know if he actually received the procedure until the study is finished in two years.