New treatments developed to combat multiple sclerosis and its progression are under study, offering a promising outlook for the future of those affected.
A new drug has been granted a marketing authorisation for patients with relapsing-remitting and primary-progressive multiple sclerosis in January 2018. This drug contains a monoclonal antibody. It serves to reduce the number of B lymphocytes responsible for myelin destruction in MS patients. This medication, Ocrevus (Ocrelizumab), has been shown to effectively slow down the progression of the disease and reduce the rate of relapse in relapsing-remitting MS by 50%. It may only be administered once every six months, intravenously.
Another drug has been granted a temporary marketing authorisation, known as Qizenday (Biotin). It is indicated in adults for the treatment of primary-progressive and secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis. The active principle of this medication is biotin, also known as Vitamin B8. Its mechanism of action is capable of both stimulating myelination and enhancing energy transfer during nerve impulse transmissions.
Multiple Sclerosis and Research
Since multiple sclerosis is a complex, multifactorial disease, the development of new medications therefore requires a multidisciplinary approach.
These days, researchers are particularly interested in immunology. Immunology is the part of biology that allows the body to fight off infectious agents such as viruses or bacteria. Research is promising and has successfully demonstrated that there are multiple causes responsible for myelin lesions such as lymphocytes, antibodies and other molecules secreted by the body. Their actions result in the formation of demyelinating plaque, observable in an MRI.
Researchers also study neurobiology. Neurobiology is the study of the central and peripheral nervous system. The goal of this kind of research is to discover agents capable of protecting the axon that are under attack in MS.
These fields of study will only advance if researchers are capable of assessing the makeup of brain and nerve tissues. For this reason, in addition to biological research, other kinds of research investigating ways to improve current imaging systems like MRIs are also being conducted.