New research gives hope to those suffering from attacks of multiple sclerosis.
For the first time ever, a drug trial has shown it has the ability to slow down the damage to the brain caused by multiple sclerosis (MS), giving hope to thousands suffering from the debilitating disease. The drug had positive results in patients with the primary progressive form of the disease, a particularly aggressive condition, according to an article in the Daily Mail.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, says the drug, Ocrelizumab, found patients taking the drug deteriorated only 33 percent over a period of time, compared to a 39 percent rate for those in the study that were given a placebo. The study involved over 700 patients in Europe and the United States.
The drug, taken intravenously, also showed it was able to treat cases of relapsing MS, a form of the disease in which attacks cone and go, in two other studies as well.
“This is the first drug to show a significant effect in slowing disability progression in a phase three trial in primary progressive multiple sclerosis, and therefore the trial represents a landmark study in the field,” according to Dr. Peter Calabresi of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Dr. Aisling McMahon, head of clinical trials at the MS Society, added, “It’s the first time any treatment has shown the potential to reduce disability progression for this type of MS, which offers a lot of hope for the future.”
“MS can be challenging and unpredictable,” continued McMahon, “and the 15,000 people in the UK living with primary progressive MS currently have no treatments available to slow the worsening of their condition.”
MS is one of the most common neurological diseases, striking twice as many women as men, and most are diagnosed in their 20s or 30s. The condition worsens with age, or strikes with periodic relapses, and leaves many of its victims confined to wheelchairs.
Researchers believe the condition results from the body’s immune system attacking the myelin, which protects the surroundings of nerve fibers. It appears the new drug works to prevent the immune cells, called B-cells, from damaging the myelin.