MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Ocrevus in the UK, Environmental Triggers, PPMS Research

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by Ed Tobias |

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NICE Postpones Final Opinion on Adding Ocrevus to Public Health System for PPMS Patients in UK

This last-minute reprieve from the agency that dictates which medications may be prescribed for patients of the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) is welcome news. Last summer, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said the benefits of Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) didn’t match its high cost. The medication is the only one that treats both primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients. So, let’s hope that NICE finds its way to approving it quickly.

A final and weighty opinion regarding whether Ocrevus will be among treatments available at low or no cost to PPMS patients in England and Wales — through the NHS — has been put on hold, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. …

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NICE … postponed any action pending the outcome of ongoing talks between Ocrevus’ developer, Genentech, and NHS England, the MS Trust reported on its website. No date was given for an announcement.


Air Pollutants, Household Chemicals Increase Risk of Pediatric MS, Studies Suggest

It’s no secret that the environment in which we live can affect our health. Over the past few years, studies have turned up evidence that several environmental factors may contribute to multiple sclerosis. This pair of studies looks at two of those factors, one inside the house and one outside, and their possible impact on young people developing MS.

Children exposed to certain air pollutants in urban areas or some household chemicals are at higher risk of developing MS during childhood or adolescence, two new research studies suggest.

The studies “Urban air quality and associations with pediatric multiple sclerosis” and “Several household chemical exposures are associated with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis” were published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.


National MS Society Invests in Clinical Development of Human Antibody for Progressive Forms of MS

Most disease-modifying therapies for MS focus on the relapsing form of the disease. So, although this is just a small research grant, it’s heartening to see it going to scientists who hope to find a treatment for progressive forms.

Fast Forward, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, will invest up to $330,000 to advance the clinical development of an antibody that was shown to lessen inflammation and nerve cell damage in an MS mouse model.

The funding will help develop the antibody (a protein the immune system uses to neutralize pathogens such as bacteria and viruses) in order to have properties more similar to those found in humans (a humanized antibody), and to test its therapeutic potential in people with MS.


Blocking Molecule Evident in Excess in MS Patients Treats Mice with SPMS-like Disease, Study Reports

I usually don’t highlight mice studies because they’re just the first step in a lengthy research process. However, I’m highlighting this one because it focuses on the progressive side of MS. The research looks at blocking a single molecule that may play a part in the trifecta of inflammation, myelin damage, and nerve degeneration.

Blocking a molecule that is overly abundant in the nervous system of MS patients and has been linked to nerve cell damage in animals, worked to significantly ease inflammation, demyelination, and neurodegeneration in mouse models of secondary progressive MS (SPMS), a study reports.
Treatment to inhibit this molecule also helped the SPMS mice recover damaged neural networks and motor ability.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


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