New multiple sclerosis drug shows promise in advanced stages of the disease

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Brain Function | Wednesday, December 28, 2016 - 06:30 AM

New multiple sclerosis drug shows promise in advanced stages of the diseaseA new multiple sclerosis (MS) drug has shown promise in treating the advanced stages of the neurological disease. The researchers found that the drug can help slow down progression of MS, even in its advanced stages – there is currently no treatment for advanced stages of multiple sclerosis.

Known as ocrelizumab, the drug is considered a breakthrough.

The researchers found that ocrelizumab reduced disability by 24 percent in people with primary progressive MS, compared to a placebo.

Researcher Dr. Stephen Hauser explained, “It does represent new hope for people with progressive MS. The data are really quite dramatic. They show by MRI that new areas of inflammation in the brain were reduced by 95 percent, compared with the current treatment.

Over 400,000 Americans are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and roughly 200 new cases are diagnosed each week. Areas furthest from the equator have a higher prevalence of multiple sclerosis, and the common age to be diagnosed with the disease is between 20 and 40 years.

There is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis, so a drug that can help slow down progression gives many patients hope.

Dr. Aaron Miller from Mount Sinai’s Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis added, “We have never had any adequate treatments for primary progressive MS. In that respect, this is a breakthrough. Obviously, one would like to see higher levels of greater reduction, but this is definitely a very significant finding for appropriate patients.”

The findings were published in New England Journal of Medicine.

Related: Multiple sclerosis vs. stroke, differences in symptoms, causes, and treatments

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