Multiple sclerosis is characterized by damage to myelin, which alters the communication between nerve cells and leads to multiple symptoms.
Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, several research teams are working on reducing its symptoms. A phase III clinical trial seems to conclude that Ofatumumab is a promising drug. Much more effective than those currently in use.
There are different forms of multiple sclerosis. The most common form, the relapsing-remitting form, progresses in relapses, with symptoms that may increase or decrease over time. In a phase III clinical trial, the value of the monoclonal antibody Ofatumumab was measured in reducing the incidence of these attacks. The study published in the NEJM concluded that ofatumumab “is associated with lower annual relapse rates than Teriflunomid”, a drug currently in use.
To achieve this result, the researchers conducted their randomized, double-blind study on 946 people with multiple sclerosis relapse. For 30 months, some of these people received Ofatumumab subcutaneously, while others swallowed Teriflunomide. Half of the participants left the trial after one and a half years.
A self-administered drug
In those who continued the trial in the second year of treatment, about nine out of ten people taking Ofatumumab showed no signs of the disease. Compared to those taking Teriflunomide, the Ofatumumab group had significantly fewer relapses. Ofatumumab specifically targets B lymphocytes, immune cells involved in multiple sclerosis.
If approved, it can be injected under the skin of patients with a self-injecting pen once a month. This is an “interesting option as first-line treatment,” says Stephen Hauser, co-author of the study. He and his colleagues will continue to work on finding a cure to stop the progression of multiple sclerosis once and for all.
“Improving the treatment of multiple sclerosis, especially with drugs that specifically target B cells, is one of the great successes of medicine,” says Hauser.