MS drugs

A board to discuss future MS therapies in early stage (Phase I or II) trials.

MS drugs

Postby bromley » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:49 pm

Dear all,

The UK has an MS website called MSRC. They have a list of drugs (licenced and it trial) on the site. The list isn't anywhere near as comprehensive as Dignans, but when you click on each drug there is a link to press articles etc.

Tovaxin, Neurovax and Rituximab look the best of the bunch to me. ... N=57563484

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Postby bromley » Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:06 pm

In terms of Rituximab, the following article is provided on the MSRRC website:

DALLAS - Multiple sclerosis can leave its victims unable to move and in constant pain. It's an autoimmune disease that wrecks havoc on the central nervous system. In some cases, no treatment works. Now, a new therapy stops the disease's progression and gets patients out of bed and back on their feet.
On her 40th birthday, Andra Litman was taken down a path unthinkable. "Unless you're in this body, I don't know how you can begin to imagine," she says.

Doctors diagnosed this artist, attorney, and mother of two with multiple sclerosis, a disease that left her unable to even turn over in bed. Then she started a new treatment. She was out of a wheelchair and on her feet in one month.

Neurologist Olaf Stuve, M.D., Ph.D., says the cancer drug rituximab (Rituxan) is the first treatment to target the B cells in patients with MS, and it could be the first effective treatment for patients when nothing else works.

"The response to the Rituxan in those patients were really dramatic, in terms of not only stopping disease progression, but really helping the patient to recover some of the neurological function," Dr. Stuve, of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, tells Ivanhoe.

Instead of a daily or weekly injection, rituximab requires two infusions every six months. White spots, or lesions on a patient's brain before treatment, are hallmarks of MS. After treatment, they are gone.

Dr. Stuve says, "I think it will be a very effective therapy and probably more effective than what we have available at this time."

Litman says, "The first thought every morning when I woke up for four years was, 'Is it a shot night?'" Now, she can tune her thoughts to what matters most.

Since rituximab only targets one aspect of the immune system, it poses fewer side effects than standard treatments. Dr. Stuve is just beginning a study on using rituximab to treat primary-progressive MS (PPMS), a specific form that affects 10 percent of patients and for which there are no effective treatments.

Source: Copyright © 2006 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.

The results in this patient look dramatic as does the claim that lesions are gone. I posted another couple of reports about this drug which showed good effect in a couple of cases where individuals had very rapid progression. But has anyone been on the trial / know anyone on the trial? If a drug had such an effect then surely the drugs company could break with the usual approach and try something different. Take 50 people with definite MS and given them the drug (no placebo arm). If the drug is as good as they say then good results should be seen in most patients. If this is the case try it on 150 etc. The current approach is cruel (placebo arm) and always comes up with marginal / inconclusive results. In the cases of Rituxan, Neurovax and Tovaxin we are fed individual cases where there has been excellent results. Then we have to wait years for all the trials etc etc. It's really time that ditched the cruel placebo arm in these trials - I can't believe the placebo effect could reduce the number of lesions, reduced EDSS scores etc etc. I also feel it is cruel to be fed these miracle stories by the researchers if they are just one off cases.

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Postby Brownsfan » Thu Jan 12, 2006 4:09 pm

Since Rituximab is already FDA approved for Cancer could we possibly see this being rolled out in the next couple years for MS patients?
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Postby Brainteaser » Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:16 pm


I noted on another thread that Roy (NatGas) was said to have been on the Rituxan trial but dropped out.

I enquired of Roy but I don't think he picked up the post.

I agree with you that it would be nice to get a behind-the-scenes peek at these treatments and not just the publicity reports that are often served up.

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Postby dignan » Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:56 pm

I think you're right about it's availability. Since they are doing a Phase II/III trial for PPMS right now, I would assume that this trial would be over and approval given (if successful) in 2009...but, since drug companies are in it for the $$$, they will want to release interim results (a la Tysabri) to get people excited and pump their share price. If the interim results for PPMS are great, you can bet it will get prescribed off-label like crazy, at least for people with PPMS. Just my opinion...
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