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New MS drug proves effective where others have failed
Date:10/31/2012

A drug which 'reboots' a person's immune system has been shown to be an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who have already failed to respond to the first drug with which they were treated (a 'first-line' therapy), as well as affected individuals who were previously untreated. The results of these two phase III clinical trials were published today in the journal The Lancet.

The new studies, sponsored by Genzyme (a Sanofi company) and Bayer Schering Pharma, showed that alemtuzumab significantly reduces the number of attacks (or relapses) experienced by people with MS compared to interferon beta-1a (known commercially as Rebif). This was seen both in patients who had not previously received any treatment (drug-nave) and those who have continued to show disease activity whilst taking an existing treatment for MS.

In the CARE MSII trial, confined to patients who had recently relapsed on a licenced therapy, new episodes were reduced by 49 per cent more than that achieved by the current standard treatment for MS, interferon beta-1a. Over a two year period, 65 per cent of patients on alemtuzumab compared to 47 per cent of patients on interferon remained relapse free. Additionally, alemtuzumab reduced the risk of acquiring disability by 42 per cent compared to interferon: disability worsened in 20% of interferon patients and 13% of alemtuzumab patients. Moreover, at the end of the study, on average, patients taking alemtuzumab had less disability than when they started the trial whereas those on interferon had experienced worsening disability.

"Our research shows the transformative effect that alemtuzumab can have for people with MS. Patients who continue to show disease activity while on their initial therapy are especially difficult to treat. Now, we have shown that alemtuzumab works where first-line drugs have already failed. It not only reduces the chances of disability associated with MS but may even result in
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Contact: Genevieve Maul
Genevieve.maul@admin.cam.ac.uk
44-012-237-65542
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert

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