Drug Offers Hope for Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers

A drug that has been developed to treat a form of leukemia has also been discovered to be quite effective in treating multiple sclerosis. The said drug, known as alemtuzumab, has been discovered not only to stop early stage active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis or RRMS but also seems to help restore lost function caused by the disease.

Alemtuzumab is actually a drug that is licensed for treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia. But it has also been recently tested in several diseases where the cause can be traced to an overactive immune system, which includes multiple sclerosis.

The study, which was headed by researchers from the University of Cambridge, found out that alemtuzumab helped reduce the number of attacks experienced by patients with relapsing-remitting MS by as much as 74 percent. This is known to be better than what interferon beta-1a, one of the most effective drugs against MS, can achieve. Not only that, the use of alemtuzumab also showed a 71 percent reduced risk of sustained accumulation of disability among the MS patients treated, compared to interferon beta-1a.

Another thing that the researchers were able to find out is that some patients who took alemtuzumab during the said trial were also able to recover some of their lost functions or were less disabled after three years than when they begun treatment at the beginning of the study. This may suggest that alemtuzumab allows repair of damaged brain tissue to enable the recovery of neurological functions that was lost due to MS.

Alastair Compston, Professor of Neurology and the Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge and principal investigator in the study said, "Alemtuzumab is the most promising experimental drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, and we are hopeful that the Phase 3 trials will confirm that it can both stabilize and allow some recovery of what had previously been assumed to be irreversible disabilities".

"The ability of an MS drug to promote brain repair is unprecedented. We are witnessing a drug which, if given early enough, might effectively stop the advancement of the disease and also restore lost function by promoting repair of the damaged brain tissue," added Dr Alasdair Coles, University Lecturer at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge who also coordinated with the many aspects of the study.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/126550.php

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