Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search
News & Press: Industry News for MS (INforMS)

CMSC INforMS: New Drug Is First to Treat Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Thursday, December 17, 2015  
Posted by: Elizabeth Porco
Share |

Studies show that ocrelizumab works for both the relapsing and progressive forms of MS.

Symptoms come and go in most cases of multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease in which the immune system attacks myelin, the nonconductive sheath that surrounds neurons' axons. Yet 10 to 15 percent of cases are progressive rather than relapsing. This more severe version appears later in life and is marked by steadily worsening symptoms. No treatments are currently available, but that might be about to change.

In September pharmaceutical company Hoffmann–La Roche announced positive results from three large clinical trials of ocrelizumab, an injectable antibody medication that targets B cells, for both relapsing and progressive MS. They found that the drug was more effective at treating relapsing MS than interferon beta-1a (Rebif), a top-performing drug now used to treat the disease. Even more exciting, it slowed the advance of symptoms in patients with progressive MS for the entire 12-week duration of the study. “The drug has dramatic effects on relapsing MS, and we finally have our foot in the door with the progressive form,” says Stephen Hauser, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who was involved in the trials.

The fact that ocrelizumab works on both types of MS is a tantalizing clue for scientists trying to understand the root causes of the disease and figure out why the inflammation of the relapsing form eventually turns into progressive degeneration in some patients. “These results give evidence that the inflammatory and the degenerative components of MS are related,” Hauser says. “The big question now is, If we begin treatment really early, can we protect relapsing patients from developing the progressive problems later on?”

With these trials, Roche has cleared the last major hurdle in the FDA's drug-testing protocol. The company plans to file for approval to treat both forms of MS in early 2016, which means the drug could be on shelves as soon as 2017.


  • CMSC Disclaimer 
    The industry news information and articles are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to represent any trends, partnerships, commitments, or research of the Consortium of MS Centers or any of it's members in any way whatsoever, nor should any party be libel in any way to the reader or to any other person, firm or corporation reading this industry news section. Although the CMSC site includes links providing direct access to other Internet sites, CMSC takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, and does not exert any editorial or other control over those other sites. CMSC is providing information and services on the Internet as a benefit and service in furtherance of CMSC's nonprofit and tax-exempt status. CMSC makes no representations about the suitability of this information and these services for any purpose.

Sign In

Forgot your password?

Haven't registered yet?

Latest News
Upcoming Events

10/27/2016 » 10/29/2016
2016 International Symposium: The Multiple Sclerosis Brain – Bridging the Gap

3 University Plaza Drive, Suite 116
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Tel: 201-487-1050 | Fax: 862-772-7275
Privacy Policy | Disclaimer