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Added Drug Aids MS Treatment
Date:2/16/2010

Multi-center study shows daclizumab reduces disease activity when added to interferon beta

TUESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Adding the drug daclizumab to standard treatment with interferon beta may reduce multiple sclerosis disease activity more than interferon beta alone, a new study reports.

Previous non-randomized studies found that daclizumab -- a humanized monoclonal antibody -- reduced MS disease activity.

This new phase 2 study at 51 centers in the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy and Spain included 230 patients with active relapsing MS who were taking interferon beta. They were randomly selected to also receive either high-dose daclizumab (2 milligrams/kilogram every two weeks), low-dose daclizumab (1 milligram/kilogram every four weeks) or an inactive placebo. The combined treatments continued for 24 weeks.

MRI scans of the patients' brains were taken every four weeks between weeks 8 and 24 of the study in order to determine the number of new or enlarged gadolinium contrast-enhancing lesions, which indicate MS disease activity.

By the end of the study, the adjusted mean number of new or enlarged gadolinium contrast-enhancing lesions was 1.32 in the high-dose group (75 patients), 3.58 in the low-dose group (78 patients) and 4.75 in the placebo group (77 patients).

Levels of CD56bright natural killer cells were seven to eight times higher in patients taking daclizumab than in those taking the placebo.

"This study provides confirmatory data that daclizumab treatment causes an expansion of CD56bright natural killer cells and adds support to the theory that expansion of CD56bright natural killer cells might mediate some of the effects of daclizumab on reducing multiple sclerosis lesion activity. In addition to the results of previous trials of daclizumab in multiple sclerosis, several lines of evidence have suggested a potential immunoregulatory function for CD56bright na
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