A major breakthrough in pharmaceuticals has just been announced. A new wonder-drug offers hope to MS patients, cutting the relapse to about 50% in all clinical cases. Preliminary tests for Ocrelizumab have shown that it can help almost 10% of patients that suffer from primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Primary-progressive MS or PPMS is a neurological disorder that affects mainly the nerves situated and the spinal cord. Symptoms may vary from walking issues, a sensation of weakness in the legs and trouble with maintaining balance. PPMS is an autoimmune disease (the immune system attacks the tissue instead of protecting it) and damages the myelin coating around the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord.
Preliminary trial results show that Ocrelizumab is more effective than its predecessor, Rebif, at treating symptoms of MS in the “relapsing-remitting” stage of this disease. That is when the patient observes a worsening health state with no remission intervals.
Roche, the pharmaceutical company responsible for the release of the new MS drug, stated that this drug can even be employed to treat even more aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis.
While not an actual cure for MS, Ocrelizumab taken intravenously can slow down the immune response of the body that is responsible for damaging the protective coating around the spinal and brain nerves.
The drug has just entered Phase III of clinical trial in people suffering from primary-progressive MS and the results are more than encouraging. The data gathered in the third installment of the clinical trial proves, as professor Gavin Giovannoni from Bart Hospital stated that the B-cells are a key factor in discovering the underlying biological mechanism of the disease.
The main reason why Ocrelizumab is much more effective than its predecessors is that it was specifically created to target specific sick cells, designated by scientist as CD20-positive B Cells. The CD20 is a protein that helps calcium channel into the cell membrane.
Statistics show that there are over 2 million people around the world suffering from PPMS, and more than 100,000 more chases have appeared in the UK over the last decade.
Patients who have taken the new wonder-drug has shown a 24% decrease in symptoms over a period of 12 weeks.
And now, awaiting approval and world-wide distribution, the new MS drug could prove to be that first step we can take in our long and tiresome journey of curing MS.