Scientists were astonished at the success of the new drug Ocrelizumab -- but does this mean we are any closer to curing this terrible disease?
The medical world is abuzz with the news of a brand new “miracle” drug from Swiss drugmaker Roche called ocrelizumab that slashed multiple sclerosis relapses by nearly 50 percent — but does this mean we are any closer to a cure for the disease?
As we reported recently, the drug outperformed the older Rebif treatment in dealing with MS relapses, and it also cut by a quarter the advancement of MS disability int hose who have primary progressive multiple sclerosis, a form of the disease for which there is no treatment. Combined with the fact that it has relatively no side effects — unlike other potent MS drugs used in later stages of the disease — and the medical community is legitimately excited about this treatment, as is the manufacturer who could make billions of dollars annually on it.
But what about an actual cure? Is that on the horizon?
A total of 2.3 million people worldwide suffer from MS, which interrupts the circuitry that connects the brain and the body, according to Consumer Affairs report. Mostly, it affects young adults. MS causes the immune system to attack a substance known as myelin, which is formed by the body to act as insulation around the nerves, protecting them. Without this protection, the nerves become damaged, and so it becomes difficult for the proper signals to be sent between the body and the brain.
The disease can be managed today, but there is no cure. Treatments today focused on reducing damage to the brain, but there is no reversal for damage already caused.
MS researchers are trying to find a way to reverse thew actual damage, something that’s proven tricky at best. But there have been some gains.
One promising drug is called anti-LINGI-1, and it recently completed trials on human subjects that showed it was safe with no serious side effects. This drug does show some potential to reverse nerve damage.
Anti-LINGO-1 works by blocking what is called LINGO-1, which is a protein that prevent myelination. With successful Phase 1 trials out of the way, scientists are hoping they can continue the success in Phase 2. If it goes well, perhaps we are closer to a cure than anyone thought.