Navigation Links
Cancer Drug Works Against MS in Early Trial
Date:2/13/2008

Promising results need to be replicated in larger study, experts caution

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A drug originally designed to combat cancer that is now being used to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus might also work against a common form of multiple sclerosis.

In new research published in the Feb. 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that one treatment with rituximab significantly reduced the number of inflammatory lesions in the brains of people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), and almost halved the incidence of relapse for up to 48 weeks.

"The immediate results of this study should give great hope to all of us in the field and to our patients," said study author Dr. Stephen Hauser, chairman of the department of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. "An easily-administered, relatively safe IV therapy might have a very important, profound effect on the relapsing-remitting phase of MS."

However, Hauser was quick to caution, "these results are preliminary and should not be translated into a belief that a new proven therapy has been identified." He said that larger, longer studies need to be done to fully assess the drug's safety and efficacy in people with MS.

"We are cautiously optimistic," Dr. John Richert, executive vice president of research and clinical programs for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said of the findings. "It's hard to imagine results any better than this, but right now, we don't have any long-term data on safety or efficacy."

MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. Instead of targeting foreign invaders, such as bacteria, the body mistakenly attacks the protective covering of nerve cells called myelin.

Most research has focused on the T-cell side of the immune system, but other studies began to suggest that maybe T-cells weren't the major players in MS after all, and that perhaps B-cells might play a role. Rituximab, sold under the brand name Rituxan, targets and depletes a type of B-cell known as CD20+.

Hauser's study included 104 people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Someone with this type of MS will have disease flare-ups but will also have periods of remission when they don't have symptoms.

The volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either 1,000 milligrams of intravenous rituximab or a placebo. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was conducted at 12, 16, 20 and 24 weeks to assess the number of inflammatory lesions -- a hallmark of MS -- present in the brain.

The number of lesions was reduced in people taking rituximab, and the number of people who had no new lesions was significantly less in those taking rituximab than in those taking a placebo, both during the study and six months later.

The rate of relapse was also significantly reduced for those on rituximab. At the end of the 48-week study period, 20.3 percent of those on rituximab had experienced a relapse versus 40 percent of those on placebo.

What both Hauser and Richert found most exciting was the speed at which rituximab worked and the duration of the benefit, which continued long after the treatment had been administered.

"Beneficial effects were seen by four weeks," said Richert. "Among the reasons why these data are so exciting is that the effects persist after 48 weeks after one course of rituximab."

People taking rituximab did experience more side effects, though most of them were minor. "The big question is whether removal of B-cells will impact the immune system later," said Hauser.

Both Hauser and Richert said this study has also provided new information about the MS disease process, and it will likely open up additional avenues of MS research.

More information

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society details the current treatments for the disease.



SOURCES: Stephen Hauser, M.D., Robert A. Fishman distinguished professor of neurology, and chairman, department of neurology, University of California, San Francisco; John Richert, M.D., executive vice president, research and clinical programs, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York City; Feb. 14, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Conventional prognostic factors fail to explain better prostate cancer survival in most Asian men
2. Survival differences by race most apparent in advanced stages of breast cancer
3. MRI finds breast cancer before it becomes dangerous
4. Investigators uncover intriguing clues to why persistent acid reflux sometimes turns into cancer
5. Pathway links inflammation, angiogenesis and breast cancer
6. Radiologists encouraged to look beyond cancer for clinically unseen diseases
7. Diet high in meat, fat and refined grains linked to risk for colon cancer recurrence, death
8. Immune deficiency linked to a type of eye cancer
9. Drop in breast cancer incidence linked to hormone use, not mammograms
10. Breast cancer prevention practices vary across Canada
11. First biomarker discovered that predicts prostate cancer outcome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cancer Drug Works Against MS in Early Trial
(Date:6/25/2016)... Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 ... ... will discuss health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June ... share their work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: ... The closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network of independent freestanding emergency ... its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are pleased to announce Dr. Ogunleye ... M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. , Dr. Ogunleye ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as ... City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, ... the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. ... toward their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... --  Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: PULM ), ... today that it was added to the Russell Microcap ... set of U.S. and global equity indexes on June ... for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive Officer Robert Clarke ... in developing drugs for crucial unmet medical needs, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  MedSource announced today that ... e-clinical software solution of choice.  This latest decision ... value to their clients by offering a state-of-the-art ... relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform of ... full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been a preferred ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... "Pharmaceutical Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, ... (Oral, Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast to 2021" ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market is ... a CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast period 2016 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: