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August 2017

Induction of New Autoimmune Diseases After Alemtuzumab Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis: Learning From Adversity

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California
JAMA Neurol. 2017;74(8):907-908. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.0325

We all learn from adversity. In pharmaceutical development, this adage is manifest in helping to define the risk part of the risk-benefit profile for a potential therapeutic agent. We refer to serious adverse events (SAEs) in the standard vocabulary of those engaged in clinical trials. Serious adverse events are described in detail in the package insert for an approved pharmaceutical. In this issue of JAMA Neurology, Baker and colleagues1 describe a potential mechanism that provides insights into this SAE of the multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment alemtuzumab. Baker et al explain how alemtuzumab might trigger new autoimmune disease as the immune system reconstitutes itself after administration.