For the first time, an antisense oligonucleotide has been shown to be effective in treating relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis. A phase 2a clinical trial of Antisense Therapeutics Limited’s ATL1102, a CD49d antisense drug, showed that the treatment quickly reduced brain lesions in RRMS patients following the start of therapy. As a result, if trials continue and ATL1102 is brought to market, a new, highly effective treatment will be available that lacks the limitations of some current treatments.
“There are a number of unresolved issues with current multiple sclerosis drugs including the occurrence of neutralising antibodies to the antibody, protein, and peptide multiple sclerosis drugs as well as long-time safety concerns with the more recently approved drugs,” said Volker Limmroth, MD, PhD, of the University of Cologne, who was lead author of the study published in Neurology, in a news release. “There is a clear need for more effective and safe drugs for the significant population of multiple sclerosis patients who have relapses and non-stable disease.”
Dr. Limmroth, along with colleagues, published the results of the phase 2a trial under the title, “CD49d Antisense Drug ATL1102 Reduces Disease Activity in Patients with Relapse-Remitting MS.” A total of 77 patients were enrolled in the study, and all had relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. After only two months of dosing, ATL1102-treated patients showed a significantly lower cumulative number of new active brain lesions compared to placebo-treated patients.
Interestingly, the therapy was deemed to be as good as, or superior to, the popular multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri. Antisense Therapeutics estimates that ATL1102 could be a potentially safer, cheaper, and more convenient alternative to Tysabri therapy.