“New Drug Transforms The Immune System To Slow The Progress Of Multiple Sclerosis”

Shariful Islam

Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable and potentially disabling disease that cripples the central nervous system. It is a widespread neurological condition that hits young adults, usually between ages 20 and 40, caused by an immune system disorder that misunderstood a part of the brain as a hostile foreign particle and attacks it. Though there are treatments available, particularly for its second state, multiple sclerosis remains incurable.

Multiple Sclerosis foundation estimate that about 400,000 people in the United States and about 2.5 millon people around the world have multiple sclerosis.

A new drug Ocrelizumab, is the first known drug shown to work against the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis by alternating the immune system to slow damage to the brain.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, focuses on how ocrelizumab is able to destroy B cells, the part of the immune system that attacks the myelin sheath, the protective coating around nerves cells which serve as wire insulation for electrical signals to travel across nerves to nerves. The study notes that among 732 patients with progressive MS, showing deterioration dropped from 39 percent prior to Ocrelizumab treatment to 33 percent with the new drug. Apart from these, patients who take drug showed lesser brain loss detected on scans.

The drug, taken as an intravenous drug, has been accepted for review for use by the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug administration. The ocrelizumab treatment hampers this process  by  stopping  the  B-cells  from  attacking  the myelin.

Dr Aisling McMahon, the head of clinical trials at the Multiple Sclerosis  Society, said: “This is really big news for people with the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis.

“It is the first time a treatment has shown the potential to reduce disability progression for this type of Multiple Sclerosis, which offers a lot of hope for the future.”

Shariful Islam is a undergraduate student at Department of Pharmacy, East West University, Bangladesh. He can be reached at sharifulislamewu004@gmail.com


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