Multiple sclerosis treatment: new kids on the block

Multiple sclerosis is a scourge. It frequently targets the young with devastating, often life-long, effects. It spares no parts of the central nervous system, affecting the brain, spinal cord and major nerves. There are several MS risk factors as discussed in my previous post MS risk factors: the top 6. In this post I address the treatments of MS. There are already several agents available and the most widely used are the Interferons. Other medications are the monoclonal antibodies such as Natalizumab and Alemtuzumab. Oral agents are also gaining ascendance and include Fingolimod and Cladribine. Other drugs include Fumarate and Teriflunomide. This article gives a good overview of MS treatments. The field is however rapidly advancing and I recommend this helpful update.

"Carswell-Multiple Sclerosis2" by derivative work: Garrondo (talk)Carswell-Multiple_Sclerosis.jpg: Robert Carswell (1793–1857) - Carswell-Multiple_Sclerosis.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
Carswell-Multiple Sclerosis2” by derivative work: Garrondo (talk)Carswell-Multiple_Sclerosis.jpg: Robert Carswell (1793–1857) – Carswell-Multiple_Sclerosis.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

MS however remains an elusive condition to treat. Current treatments may reduce episodes of relapses but seem to do little to stop the progression of the disease. Some new drugs are however breaking the mold.

A highly promising drug is Ocrelizumab. This drug excited the recent European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) as discussed in this article in Medscape. It appears to be highly effective and has the advantage of producing fewer side effects than most other agents.

Anti LINGO-1 is another promising treatment in development. Anti-LINGO 1 seems to repair damaged nerves.

"Neuron with oligodendrocyte and myelin sheath" by Neuron_with_oligodendrocyte_and_myelin_sheath.svg: *Complete_neuron_cell_diagram_en.svg: LadyofHatsderivative work: Andrew c (talk) - Neuron_with_oligodendrocyte_and_myelin_sheath.svg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
Neuron with oligodendrocyte and myelin sheath” by Neuron_with_oligodendrocyte_and_myelin_sheath.svg: *Complete_neuron_cell_diagram_en.svg: LadyofHatsderivative work: Andrew c (talk) – Neuron_with_oligodendrocyte_and_myelin_sheath.svg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Most treatments of MS are directed at the relapsing remitting form but it is hopeful that a new drug, Masitinib, may break the glass ceiling with progressive MS. Masitinib is an oral agent currently in trial stages. This piece from the MS Society gives further details on Masitinib.

Nanotechnology is another development which may be applied to MS treatment. Nanoparticles may be used to deliver antigens that modulate the immune system. So far however, this technology is still in animal trials.

Nanoparticles. Attribution Christopher Johnson and Vilas G. Pol via Flikr https://www.flickr.com/photos/argonne/3974983988
Nanoparticles. Attribution Christopher Johnson and Vilas G. Pol via Flikr https://www.flickr.com/photos/argonne/3974983988

 

To keep a tab on developments in the MS world I recommend the BartsMS Blog.

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