Pixantrone as Possible MS Treatment

According to an article on the Medical News Today website, a biopharmaceutical company is announcing the study of the Phase I/II drug trial of pixantrone as a possible treatment of aggressive multiple sclerosis.

The company Cell Therapeutics, Inc. announced that its investigational drug pixantrone will be undergoing a phase I/II trial that will be initiated by the Fondation Charcot Stichting in Brussels, Belgium. The said multicenter trial will involve enrolling patients with aggressive relapsing remitting (RR) or secondary progressive (SP) multiple sclerosis to study the possible effects of pixantrone on the said debilitating disease.

Pixantrone is an immunosuppressant drug that has been studied for treating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as well as various other hematologic malignancies, slid tumors and immunological disorders. The said drug compound is being developed to improve the activity and safety in treating various cancers that are effectively treated by the anthracycline family of anti-cancer agents.

This family of compounds have been showing positive effects in clinically treating a number of tumor types such as lymphoma, leukemia and breast cancer. Chemotherapy regimens using anthracycline compounds been very effective as the first line treatment for such cancers.

But the use of compounds such as anthracycline anti-cancer agents has been known to cause cumulative heart damage that may put a limit on lifetime dosages. The drug pixantrone is being studied to reduce the potential for heat damage without losing its positive effect as an anti-cancer agent and, possibly as a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis.

A related compound to pixantrone, which is Mitoxantrone has already been approved by the US FDA for the reduction of neurological disability in patients suffering from SP multiple sclerosis. But mitoxantrone poses a risk in terms of its high cardiac toxicity which can impose some limitations for the selection of MS patients suitable for treatment. Pixantrone is being studied to lower that potential for cardiac toxicity in patients but have similar and even more effective immune regulation activity than mitoxantrone.

The objective of the said study is to determine how effective pixantrone would be as an immunosuppressive agent based on its ability to decrease lymphocyte count and its effectiveness as an MS treatment based on gadolinium enhanced magnetic resonance imaging.

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