Genentech shared new insights into the workings of Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) and its effectiveness in reducing disease activity and slowing progression in relapsing and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) at the recent 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN).
The new findings, previously reported here, built on analyses of information gathered during the three Phase 3 clinical trials assessing Ocrevus’ safety and efficacy, as well as through monitoring patients in extension studies.
To better understand this new data’s relevance to the patient community, Multiple Sclerosis News Today turned to Dr. Hideki Garren, group medical director of ocrelizumab at Genentech.
The many aspects of disease progression
One of the issues researchers evaluated in-depth at the congress was NEPAD, short for No Evidence of Progression or Active Disease, a new measure of treatment efficacy used in the trials. NEPAD is a composite measure, similar to NEDA (No Evidence of Disease Activity), but it holds additional information.
To achieve NEDA, an MS patient must have no relapses, no new or enhancing brain lesions on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and no disability progression assessed by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). To fulfill NEPAD, all the requirements of NEDA must be met, plus no confirmed disability progression equal to or above 20% on a timed 25-foot walk — measuring mobility and leg function — and on 9-hole peg tests — measuring finger dexterity.
“NEPAD represents an expansion of NEDA and integrates more aspects of disability, which are highly meaningful to people with MS,” said Garren, explaining that since the 1990s, researchers have been striving to develop more sensitive measures of clinically meaningful outcomes, as well as methods to determine how well a patient responds to a medicine.
Combined measures are a rather recent addition to these efforts, and go beyond what EDSS alone is able to measure.
“The development of NEPAD is a testament to Genentech’s commitment to provide new insights about how best to measure and improve the quality of life of MS patients, and our commitment to move the MS field forward,” Garren said.
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