Medical progress against multiple sclerosis (MS) took a major leap forward in 2017 with the approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of ocrelizumab, a drug that has shown success against 2 different forms of the disease. The year also brought further signs that it may be possible to biochemically reverse damage wrought by MS.
In 2 phase 3 trials ocrelizumab significantly outperformed an existing therapy, interferon beta-1a, in the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS, a form of the disease that consists of recurrent exacerbations and most often transitions into the uninterrupted downward spiral known as secondary progressive MS. After a third phase 3 trial in which the drug showed success against a placebo with respect to various end points, it was also approved against primary progressive MS, which has a degenerative course from the start and for which there is no approved treatment.
Lyon J. New Inroads Against Multiple Sclerosis. JAMA. 2018;319(1):9–11. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.14033
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