New Multiple Sclerosis Drug For Severe Generates Glimmer Of Hope

There is finally some progress in the hunt for a treatment for the most difficult form of multiple sclerosis — the form that has stubbornly resisted every attempt to find a therapy.The catch, experts say, is that people with this form of the disease should keep their expectations low, because even the new Multiple Sclerosis drug that’s now in the last stages of development doesn’t appear to have a big clinical impact.

On Friday, the company behind ocrelizumab, the Roche subsidiary Genentech, will release new Phase 3 trial data at a conference of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, which is being held in New Orleans.Genentech has already published a first round of the results, which showed some impact on a wide range of measures for people with primary progressive MS.

The new data will include more detail on how ocrelizumab affected subgroups of patients, as well as new information on how it worked in people with relapsing-remitting MS, to show whether it can also work on the more common variety of the disease.These new results will demonstrate that the new Multiple Sclerosis drug “appears to have efficacy across the patient population” of people with primary progressive MS, including people.

Who had active inflammation and those who didn’t, according to Dr. Peter Chin, principal medical director for neuroscience at Genentech. It will also show a “significant reduction” in the major markers of the disease for people with relapsing-remitting MS, he said.“I’ve had MS for over 25 years. It’s the first time that I have heard that there’s a new Multiple Sclerosis drug that’s this close to being submitted to the FDA for approval for my kind of MS,” she said in an interview Thursday.

The FDA announcement has also generated excitement among advocates like Tim Coetzee, the chief advocacy, services, and research officer at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “We’ve had so many failures with treatments for people with primary progressive MS that this really represents a source of hope,” he said.Ocrelizumab works by targeting a certain kind of immune cell that can contribute.

To the damage to the nervous system, including the nerve cells and the protective covering around nerve fibers.It is taken by intravenous infusion twice a year.These differences, while undramatic, were statistically significant, which is the main threshold the FDA will be looking for when it decides whether to approve the medication

“It’s a positive result when you’ve had 20 years of failure,” said Coetzee.Based on the study results, Dr. Dennis Bourdette, executive director of the Oregon Health.Science University’s Multiple Sclerosis Center, said it was “very appropriate” for the FDA to grant breakthrough status to the new Multiple Sclerosis drug and that he was “hopeful that it will be approved for the treatment of primary progressive MS.”

But Bourdette, who was not involved in the Genentech-funded trials, also noted that the patients in the study were younger than average for people with primary progressive MS, which usually begins about 10 years later than relapsing-remitting MS. Younger patients could be more responsive to treatment, and “it will be uncertain how effective ocrelizumab will be for older and more disabled patients,SOURCE

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