MS Patient’s Pick of the Week’s News: Antioxidant Therapies, Ocrevus, and Other Notables

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Pick of the Week's News

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Here is my Pick of the Week’s News, from articles published on Multiple Sclerosis News Today. 

Antioxidant Therapies Seen as Promising Approach in Treating MS and Like Diseases

Maybe antioxidant research could provide another avenue of MS therapy.

A review article published in the British Journal of Pharmacology assesses antioxidant approaches for treating neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The review, “Microglia antioxidant systems and redox signalling,” notes that certain compounds associated with oxidative stress appear to be promising therapeutic targets for treating neurodegenerative disorders, with researchers investigating the potential for enhancing antioxidant capacity by targeting what’s known as the Nrf2 pathway — a major regulator of antioxidant response.

Genentech Enrolling Relapsing MS Patients in Study of Mechanism of Action for Ocrevus

Yet another Ocrevus study — but this time it’s for RMS patients who have not responded well to DMTs.

In addition to a new study sponsored by Genentech to test the experimental MS therapy Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) in RMS patients who have had a sub-optimal response to previous disease modifying therapies, the company is also currently recruiting patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis to understand the therapy’s mechanism of action and B-cell biology in the disease. This study (NCT02688985) will enroll up to 99 participants and is expected to end in September 2018.

Since Ocrevus is the first investigational medicine that significantly reduces disability progression in both RMS and PPMS patients, it has been recently given priority review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the decision is expected by the end of the year.

Gut Microbiota Is a Growing Focus of Multiple Sclerosis Research, Though Treatments Are Few

Gut microbiota is increasingly being seen an important environmental risk factor for multiple sclerosis, and strategies to correct an imbalance in intestinal flora, also known as microbial dysbiosis, are being encouraged as ways to potentially help in the treatment of MS.

Four research articles published in the last year support the idea that gut microbiota — the ecological community of microorganisms that live in the gut — may play a role in the development of MS.

While I am pleased that any possible factor in MS is being researched, hopefully with the ultimate goal of finding a cure, I do wonder about the scientific value of reviewing four different pieces of research.

TENS Seen as Low Cost and Accessible Way to Ease Spasticity in MS Patients

Here we go again — no new research, just a “literature review.” Why bother?

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) might be an option to treat spasticity, one of the more common symptoms of multiple sclerosis, according to a literature review conducted by researchers from Universidad de Castilla la Mancha, Toledo, and Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos de Toledo, both in Spain. The study, “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for spasticity: A systematic review,” was published in the Spanish scientific journal Neurologia.

Although it is difficult to assess and compare results obtained in different studies because of the great variability in the types of stimulation used, along with differences in parameters and variables, TENS may still be a valid option to reduce spasticity and pain in multiple sclerosis thanks to its low cost, ease of use, and absence of adverse side effects, according to various reviews.

One word of warning about TENS: anyone who also has epilepsy must consult a doctor before using it. I did just that and was advised not to try it.

Phase 2 Study of Oral Antibiotic to Treat Relapsing MS, RHB-104, Nearing Finish

RedHill Biopharma announced that the final patient has completed the last step of its Phase 2 clinical study (CEASE-MS) of RHB-104 as a potential treatment for people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). RHB-104 is an antibiotic oral medication that blocks inflammation in addition to killing bacteria.

RHB-104 was originally developed as a treatment for Crohn’s disease, and is currently in Phase 3 study to analyze its effectiveness in treating this inflammatory bowel disease.

Good news that the trial is nearing its end and interesting that the drug was originally developed for Crohn’s disease.

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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Ian Franks is Managing Editor of the Columns division of BioNews Services. He has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media; during which he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain and uses his skills to write his own flourishing specialist MS, Health & Disability blog at Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.
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