leukaemia drug can halt, reverse effects of MS

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

leukaemia drug can halt, reverse effects of MS

Postby Markd » Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:23 pm

Check this out

Study finds leukaemia drug can halt, reverse effects of MS

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Yahoo AFP News

LONDON (AFP) – Researchers at the University of Cambridge said Thursday they have found that a drug originally developed to treat leukaemia can halt and even reverse the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis (MS).

In trials, alemtuzumab reduced the number of attacks in sufferers and also helped them recover lost functions, apparently allowing damaged brain tissue to repair so that individuals were less disabled than at the start of the study.

"The ability of an MS drug to promote brain repair is unprecedented," said Dr Alasdair Coles, a lecturer at Cambridge university's department of clinical neurosciences, who coordinated many aspects of the study.
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Postby rainer » Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:52 pm

Nice. Looks like the results of a phase 2 Campath study newly published. (Not to rain on your parade, but that article makes it sound like a huge breakthrough when in reality this drug has been looked at for years in regard to MS.) Still, the results are encouraging. More info:

The new study, which was funded by Genzyme and Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Germany , found that alemtuzumab reduces the number of attacks experienced by people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis by 74 per cent over and above that achieved with interferon beta-1a, one of the most effective licensed therapies for similar cases of MS. More importantly, alemtuzumab also reduced the risk of sustained accumulation of disability by 71 per cent compared to interferon beta-1a.

The Phase 2 clinical study involved 334 patients who had been diagnosed with early-stage RRMS but had not previously been treated. Patients either received alemtuzumab (one of two dose levels intravenously for five days initially and three days of re-treatment 12 months later) or interferon beta-1a (given by injection three times per week). The patients were followed for three years to determine the efficacy of the treatments as well as the effect on the patients' disabilities.

Alemtuzumab versus Interferon beta-1a in Early, Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 23 October 2008

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 211030.htm
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New drug raises hope of reversing multiple sclerosis in earl

Postby Nemotoday » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:28 pm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a ... 996181.ece


New drug raises hope of reversing multiple sclerosis in early stages

Mark Henderson, Science Editor

A step change in the treatment of multiple sclerosis is heralded today by the first study to suggest that a drug can stop the disease in its tracks and even reverse its progress.

A trial of the medicine, known as alemtuzumab, has found that it offers benefits that are “better by a country mile” than other treatments for MS, and that it is effective for a much wider cross-section of patients.

The results offer hope that thousands of people who suffer from MS will eventually be able to control the condition, which causes nerve damage, loss of mobility, blindness and cognitive decline.

Scientists cautioned, however, that alemtuzumab will not be available outside clinical trials for about five years, and that it is suitable only for patients with early-phase MS. Those in whom the disease has already been diagnosed are unlikely to benefit.
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When people with early-stage MS were treated with alemtuzumab, their condition improved significantly more than those on beta interferon, the best treatment available now, across three standard clinical indicators.

The drug reduced the number of MS attacks by 74 per cent, and the progression of disability by 71 per cent, when compared with beta interferon. Patients on alemtuzumab also showed recovery of brain function, so that they were less disabled at the end of the three-year study than at the beginning, while those on beta interferon continued to decline.

Almost every patient taking alemtuzumab improved, whereas about half of MS patients show no response to beta interferon.

Scientists behind the research said that if the findings were repeated in a larger sample it would promise a revolution in MS care within five years, though only for patients who had yet to develop much nerve damage.

“It is a landmark, a step change,” said Alistair Compston, Professor of Neurology at the University of Cambridge, who led the study. “It is more effective than beta interferon by a country mile, and the efficacy is so high that we hope it will represent the definitive treatment if used in the right people.”

Alasdair Coles, another member of the team, said: “It is our view that alemtuzumab offers the most effective treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis described to date. The ability of an MS drug to promote brain repair is unprecedented. We are witnessing a drug which, if given early enough, might effectively stop the advancement of the disease and also restore lost function by promoting repair of damaged brain tissue.”

The study, which is published in The New England Journal of Medicine, was a phase 2 trial, conducted on 334 patients as the first test of the drug's efficacy. Two phase 3 trials, of 600 and 1,200 patients, are now under way and positive reports will be needed from these before it can be licensed. Alemtuzumab was also shown to have some potentially serious side-effects, which means that patients who take it will have to be monitored by their doctors. One patient taking the drug died of a brain haemorrhage after developing an autoimmune condition that destroys a clotting agent in the blood, and two others were successfully treated for the same disorder.

Lee Dunster, head of research at the MS Society, said that the charity was delighted at the results. “This news will rightly bring hope to people living with the condition day in, day out.”
Keep smiling as who knows what good things might be around the corner and if the road snakes a bit keep going.
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Postby Lainie » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:28 am

Scientists cautioned, however, that alemtuzumab will not be available outside clinical trials for about five years, and that it is suitable only for patients with early-phase MS. Those in whom the disease has already been diagnosed are unlikely to benefit.

Bummer. :(
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Postby Waterbear » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:45 am

Lainie wrote:
Scientists cautioned, however, that alemtuzumab will not be available outside clinical trials for about five years, and that it is suitable only for patients with early-phase MS. Those in whom the disease has already been diagnosed are unlikely to benefit.

Bummer. :(


I think the statement is wrong to some extent; average progression time is more than 10 years so many patients diagnosed today will still be in the RR phase when (and if) Campath hits the market in 5 years.Also some people in the forum (Ian for example) saw improvement after taking the drug a good few years after their diagnosis,so chances are that many people diagnosed today could benefit even if they didn't participate in the trials/get Campath off label.
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Postby CureOrBust » Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:18 pm

and we also hove at least one member who HAS received it off-label.
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