Reported on the MS Society Web Site, Ocrelizumab is an intravenous infusion treatment that has been developed by Hoffmann-La Roche. Top-line results have been announced from a phase 3 clinical trial looking at the use of ocrelizumab in primary progressive MS and phase 3 clinical trials for relapsing MS were announced as complete in June 2015.
This new drug offers new hope to the thousands of people who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. Reported little snippet was broadcast on Sky News recently. This caught my attention because it was mooted to treat a progressive form of the disease.
Perhaps because of the Sky coverage, I was more receptive to a similar report by the BBC.
Ocrelizumab shows Significant Improvement
The drug Ocrelizumab manufactured by Roche has been shown, in three major studies, to have game-changing results in treating both the relapse-remitting and progressive forms of MS (Multiple Scelerosis).
Ocrelizumab has been found to have significant effects on both forms of the disease.
B-cells, one of two forms of immune cells that are thought to cause degeneration of nerve cells. Thereby resulting in typical autoimmune disease symptoms.
Results have been presented to the European Committee for Treatment Research in Multiple Sclerosis. These show the drug reduced the rate of clinical disability in primary progressive MS by 24%.
New drug shown to be effective in relapse-remitting and progressive MS
Furthermore, in the relapsing-remitting form of the disease, it halved the frequency of relapses. And, was more effective at delaying the onset of disability than Beta Interferon. One of the main drugs currently used for MS is Beta Interferon.
The manufacturers, Roche, are now expected to apply for a medicines licence from the regulatory authorities.
The watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), will then assess the drug. To determine whether it is cost effective for use on the NHS.
Professor Gavin Giovannoni, of Barts and The London School of Medicine, said: “The results are a game changer for the clinical community.
“The important next step is for regulators to enable treatment to be provided as soon after diagnosis as possible. To provide optimal outcomes, with the potential to improve patients’ quality of life in the long-term.”
Personally, I find this very encouraging news. I was diagnosed with RRMS in 1994 and now believe the disease has advanced to SPMS. As my condition is only likely to deteriorate any possible pharmaceutical treatments will be welcome.
Although welcoming any new pharmaceutical breakthrough, I still make it my objective to reduce my reliance on any drug intervention at all.
Ocrelizumab is still under trial. So, it is likely to be several years before it is approved. And, even longer before, if it is deemed to be cost-effective, and made available on the NHS.
Research: B Cell Depletion Inhibits MS Barts MS Blog