New Drug Shows Promise for Treating Multiple Sclerosis #new #ms #medication


New Drug Shows Promise for Treating Multiple Sclerosis

In the case of MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin covering of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. During treatment, the monoclonal antibodies act as a switch to turn off the disease process.

The generic names for monoclonal antibody type drugs always end in “mab.” Other MS drugs that are monoclonal antibodies include natalizumab (Tysabri), and alemtuzumab (Lemtrada).

Rituximab (Rituxan), which is currently in clinical trials for treating MS, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Since that time it has been prescribed “off-label” for some MS patients who were not responding to other therapies.

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. “Rituxan is a monoclonal antibody (CD20, from mouse tissue) that binds to a receptor on the surface of B cells. These cells are then destroyed and their levels in the circulation are decreased. It is approved for use in the treatment of lymphomas, leukemias, and autoimmune disorders.”

How Well Does Ocrelizumab Work?

Ocrelizumab may be a step up, researchers said.

“Ocrelizumab showed remarkable improvements over a standard-of-care medicine across clinical and imaging endpoints in two pivotal studies,” said Dr. Sandra Horning, Roche’s chief medical officer and head of global product development in a press release. “Ocrelizumab has the potential to make a meaningful difference for people with MS, a chronic and debilitating disease. Based on these compelling results, we plan to submit the data for review to U.S. and E.U. regulatory authorities in the first quarter of 2016.”

The medical community is also awaiting FDA-approval with anticipation.

“The OPERA trials press release is exciting because it means that we may soon have another powerful option for people with relapsing MS,” said neurologist Dr. Daniel Kantor, fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, in an interview with Healthline. “Instead of focusing on a part of the immune system called T cells, ocrelizumab focuses on B cells and the role that they play in MS.”

Kantor, immediate past president of the Florida Society of Neurology and chief medical correspondent for MS World. said that “Although the press release doesn’t tell us any specifics about exactly how well ocrelizumab did in the trials, we do know that ocrelizumab was superior to standard MS therapies … and it only needs to be given every six months [by intravenous infusion].”

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