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

long-term clinical improvements," said Professor Alastair Compston from the University of Cambridge, principal investigator on both studies and Chair of the Steering Committee which oversaw these and earlier clinical trials.

For the study (CARE MS II), researchers recruited 840 MS patients (of whom 628 were used for the principal analysis) who had been treated previously but had recently relapsed during their therapy. They were divided in a ratio of 2:1 to receive either alemtuzumab or interferon beta-1a. Their disability was then assessed every three months for two years by a researcher who was not made aware of which drug the patient had received. Additionally, they had annual scans to assess the lesions and brain shrinkage caused by MS.

Alemtuzumab was found significantly to reduce the risk of having another relapse of MS or becoming disabled over the next two years, compared to one of the most effective licensed therapies for similar cases of MS, interferon beta-1a. Additionally, most patients on alemtuzumab experienced an improvement in disability, which was not seen after treatment with interferon-beta 1a. The brain scans showed that alemtuzumab not only reduced the number of new lesions, compared to interferon beta-1a, but also reduced the rate of brain shrinkage that occurs in MS as tissue is damaged.

"Although other MS drugs have emerged over the last year which is certainly good news for patients none has shown superior effects on disability when compared to interferon except alemtuzumab. Additionally, no other treatment has led to improvements in disability," said Dr Alasdair Coles, lead author of the paper and a clinician from the University of Cambridge.

MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks nerve fibres and their protective insulation, the myelin sheath, in the central nervous system. The resulting damage prevents the nerves from 'firing' properly and ultimately leads to the loss of th
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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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