MS Drug Reduces Relapse Rate By Half In Late Stage Trial

A new multiple sclerosis drug has been showing quite a promise in reducing relapse rates in people who suffer from the said disease. The experimental MS drug called alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) from Genzyme has been showing that it can reduce relapse rates of MS by as much as 50 percent. It is also seen to be effective in lowering the risk of worsening disabilities by around 40 percent as exhibited at the late stage trial of the said drug.

The researchers involved in the late stage trial of the new MS drug analyzed data coming from a group of people suffering from relapsing-remitting MS and who haven’t experienced any benefits from other known MS therapies. One group of participants was given alemtuzumab for 5 straight days then spent a period of one year without taking the said drug. After a year, the group took the drug again for 3 consecutive days this time. The other group was given interferon through injections 3 times per week for a period of 2 years.

What makes alemtuzumab quite promising as a potential MS therapy is for the lasting effects that it provides. The drug needs only to be taken by MS patients for several days to get lasting results. According to Michael Panzara of Genzyme, “Even though our drug is active for a short period of time, the change it creates in the immune environment persists.”

Alemtuzumab is a type of antibody that targets a protein called CD52 that can be found on cell surfaces. It gets rid of cells which are thought to cause cell damage in people with MS. Genzyme, the company behind the development of alemtuzumab, is set to file for FDA approval sometime in 2012.


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