New data on the recently approved multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) will be presented at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting 2017, which will take place April 22-28 in Boston.
The meeting is the first scientific conference focusing on neurology since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Ocrevus for both relapsing MS and primary progressive disease. Most Ocrevus-related studies to be presented at the meeting are sponsored by the drug’s developer, Genentech, or its Swiss parent company, Roche.
Rapid treatment effects
To explore how fast the treatment effects of Ocrevus occur, Roche researchers focused on the first eight weeks of treatment among relapsing patients.
One study demonstrated that Ocrevus lowers brain inflammation, as seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans, as early as four weeks after the start of treatment. Reductions in annualized relapse rates were significant eight weeks later, according to another presentation.
Early-stage relapsing MS
Early relapsing disease was the focus of the next Roche-sponsored study. Data from the two Phase 3 OPERA trials (NCT01247324 and NCT01412333) showed that patients with early-stage relapsing disease also benefit from treatment with Ocrevus.
The proportion of early-stage patients who achieved no evidence of disease activity (NEDA) was 47.6 percent — similar to that seen in the entire study group treated with Ocrevus. NEDA in Rebif-treated early relapsing patients was 76 percent lower.
Relapsing patients in early disease stages also benefitted from the brain lesion-preventing effects of Ocrevus, according to another study. Prevention of new brain lesions occurred in the earlier analysis of the entire OPERA trial group.
“Ocrevus is the only disease-modifying therapy approved by the FDA for people with primary progressive MS and offers people with relapsing MS a new treatment option with a favorable benefit-risk profile,” Sandra Horning, MD, chief medical officer and head of global product development at Genentech, said in a press release. “The data being presented at AAN will demonstrate how rapidly Ocrevus controls disease activity and reduces brain MRI lesions in people with early RMS, both of which are important goals of treatment.”
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