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Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
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Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center
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Multiple Sclerosis Institute
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Weill Medical College of Cornell University

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MS Patient’s Pick of the Week’s News

Developments of treatments for MS dominate my pick of the week’s news in MS News Today. Included is a vaccine and a new oral drug.

Vaccine to Treat Multiple Sclerosis Showing Promise and Soon to Enter Phase 3 Clinical Testing

This is something a bit different because, usually vaccines are designed to prevent infection, to prevent disease. However, this time it’s all about a therapeutic vaccine developed to treat an existing illness; in this particular case, MS.

“Xemys is showing positive results in pre-clinical and clinical trials, and is soon to enter Phase 3 clinical testing. Xemys was developed by researchers at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences and their colleagues.”

One to keep our eyes on, I feel.

1st Potential Therapy for Primary Progressive MS, Ocrelizumab Under Priority Review by FDA

We already knew that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had designated this as a Breakthrough product, which was announced a few weeks ago.

“The FDA is giving priority review to a request to approve Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) as a treatment. If Genentech’s Biologics License Application (BLA) is approved, Ocrevus will become the first drug able to treat patients with either relapsing or primary progressive MS.

By designating the review a priority, the FDA will make its decision within six months rather than the standard 10, and release that decision on December 28. Approval means the drug will be available for patients in the U.S. A similar regulatory process is underway in Europe, with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).”

Vitamin D Levels Seen to Predict Relapse Rates only in Younger MS patients

The effect of vitamin D levels in people with MS is well-known, with many patients being advised to take supplements if they live in areas that lack sufficient sunshine.

“Now, a retrospective study of vitamin D status and disability progression in multiple sclerosis patients — using real-life, clinical data from a large and varied group — has found no correlation between the two, although vitamin D levels were seen to predict the occurrence of relapses rates in younger, patients.

The study, ‘Vitamin D Status Does Not Affect Disability Progression of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis over Three Year Follow-Up,’ was published in the open access journal PLOS One.

Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of developing MS. Relapse rates have also been reported to be higher in patients with lower vitamin D levels, when compared to levels during disease remission. In early relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), specifically, high levels of vitamin D correlated with increased probabilities for relapse-free periods.”

Study Finds PoNS Neurostimulator Plus Physical Therapy of Benefit to Advanced MS Patients

“A pilot study has demonstrated the benefits of PoNS Therapy — a combination of the investigational Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS) device with physical therapy — in patients with advanced multiple sclerosis. Specifically, the treatment was seen to improve both patients’ quality of life, and physical and cognitive abilities.

The study, ‘Can Exercise Combined with Cranial Nerve Non-Invasive Neuromodulation (CN-NINM) Improve Mobility in Non-Ambulatory People with MS? a Case Study Series’ was developed by researchers at the Tactile Communication and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory (TCNL) at the University of Wisconsin, and presented at last month’s Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) 2016 Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland.”

Apparently, the “non-invasive” PoNS device was designed to deliver neurostimulation through the tongue (not sure I’d fancy that). It “has been shown to induce cranial nerve neuromodulation when combined with tailored physical, cognitive or occupational therapy programs, suggesting it could be of use in a variety of neurological diseases.”

Coherus’ Oral Therapy for Relapsing MS Seen to Reduce Brain Lesions by Half in Phase 2b Trial

“A new therapy, currently known as CHS-131, is the first of a new class of compounds that, in contrast to most MS drugs, has anti-inflammatory effects in the brain without being immunosuppressive.  This is a feature that Coherus believes might make the drug a first-line treatment, either alone or combined with other MS drugs.

The company has reported that CHS-131 reduced the development rate of new brain lesions by nearly 50% in previously untreated relapsing-remitting MS patients. This took place in a Phase 2b trial (NCT02638038), randomizing patients to receive either CHS-131 or placebo, in a double-blind manner.”

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by MULTIPLESCLEROSISNEWSTODAY
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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