MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Testosterone and MS, Ocrevus in the UK, Enhanced MRI Technology, Ublituximab Trial Results
This finding is an extension of research that has already indicated that a higher testosterone level reduces the chance of a person developing multiple sclerosis (MS). This new research focuses on a testosterone-related molecule that, these scientists believe, may prevent the activation of a group of immune cells that generate nerve inflammation and play a key role in myelin destruction.
A molecule triggered by the male hormone testosterone protects male mice from developing multiple sclerosis, Northwestern Medicine researchers report.
Their discovery may help explain why MS affects more women than men. It could also lead to targeted therapies to protect women against the disease.
The study, “Male-specific IL-33 expression regulates sex-dimorphic EAE susceptibility,” appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
People in the U.K. with progressive MS, make your voices heard about Ocrevus.
Britain’s Multiple Sclerosis Trust is asking patients to help them get the National Health Service (NHS) to cover Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) as a treatment for primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).
The key step is trying to persuade the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to recommend that the health service cover the Genentech therapy. NICE is an advisory body whose recommendations the NHS usually adopts.
One of the difficult tasks when trying to make an MS diagnosis, or assessing the progress of the disease, is determining where, and by how much, a patient’s myelin has been damaged. This technology may make it easier to determine this by allowing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to display multiple levels of tissues, rather than just one. The FDA approval makes it available in the United States.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved technology that the Swedish company SyntheticMR developed to give doctors more information from MRI scans.
This means the company can begin selling its SyMRI NEURO packages to U.S. medical facilities.
“Remarkable” is a pretty strong adjective to use when assessing the results of a clinical trial. But, the three big takeaways from this research may justify its use: Ublituximab-treated patients had no relapses during the six months following the trial. In the year before they enrolled in the trial, 83 percent had relapsed at least once. Their disability also improved and none of the patients had lesions at six months. I guess that is remarkable. On the other hand, there were only 16 patients in this clinical trial. So, let’s hope these 16 are a true representation of the benefits of this therapy.
In fact, none of the treated patients had new gadolinium-enhancing lesions — or damaged nerve cell areas — six months after treatment, researchers said. Their analysis covered patients with the relapsing form of MS.
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