Medical breakthrough in the treatment of multiple sclerosis
Researchers have now found that a drug used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) can successfully reduce brain damage. The treatment showed positive results in the treatment of a particularly aggressive form of the disease.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins University found that treatment with the drug ocrelizumab slows down the damage to the brain of MS patients. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "New England Journal of Medicine".
Reduced brain damage
During the study, the experts found that only 33 percent of the treated patients experienced deterioration of the brain over time. In contrast, treatment with a placebo was 39 percent.
Doctors examine more than 700 subjects
For their study, the researchers examined more than 700 patients in Europe and the USA. Two other studies also showed ocrelizumab's ability to treat relapsing MS. Ocrelizumab is given as an intravenous drug.
Effects of ocrelizumab
This is the first drug to have a significant effect in slowing the progression of disability in a phase 3 study in primary progressive multiple sclerosis, the authors say. This is really great news for people with the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis. In addition to slowing the damage to the brain, the ingestion leads to improved mobility and the engaging subjects took less time to walk a distance of 25 feet, the experts report.
In the UK alone, 50 cases of MS are diagnosed every week
Multiple sclerosis can be demanding and unpredictable in treatment, the doctors explain. For 15,000 people in the UK with primary progressive MS alone, there are currently no effective treatments available to slow the deterioration that is occurring. Around 50 cases of MS are newly diagnosed in the UK each week.
Negative effects of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis affects women twice as often as men. The disease causes a loss of mobility, visual disturbances, fatigue and excruciating pain, explain the doctors. The disease often gets worse with age or is expressed in periodic relapses. As a result, many sufferers rely on the use of wheelchairs.
How does ocrelizumab work?
The disease is caused by a malfunction of the body's immune system. Instead of fighting off diseases, the immune system turns against the body's own nerves, the authors explain. Immune cells called B-cells attack the so-called myelines, which surround the nerve fibers as a protective covering. Treatment with ocrelizumab slows down this process by preventing the B cells from attacking the myeline, the researchers add. (as)