MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Sativex, IMU-838, Ibudilast, Supercomputer

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by Ed Tobias |

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Sativex Eased MS Spasticity as an Add-on Therapy

A reader in Belgium told me he has used Sativex for a couple months. He reported no dramatic improvements in his symptoms, but he said the spasticity in his right leg decreased, and he was in a much better mood to walk with a walking stick, when previously he would often use a wheelchair or a scooter. The majority of people in this study reported slightly better results. Sativex isn’t approved in the U.S. for treating MS, but I hope it will be.

Sativex (nabiximols), an oral spray that contains cannabis extracts, was found effective as an add-on therapy for easing spasticity in adult multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who failed to respond to other anti-spastic treatments, a real-world study from Belgium reports.

Overall, about 74% patients reported easing of spasticity — muscle stiffness or spasms —after 12 weeks of treatment, defined as a 30%-or-greater reduction in spasticity scores.

The study, “Sativex (nabiximols) cannabinoid oromucosal spray in patients with resistant multiple sclerosis spasticity: the Belgian experience,” was published in the journal BMC Neurology.

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Trials of IMU-838 in RRMS, Progressive MS Start Later This Year

IMU-838 is an oral medication that aims to block active T- and B-cells. These are the cells that have a role in driving the inflammation that damages the nervous system of people with MS.

Two RRMS trials will be conducted at more than 100 sites in 14 countries, including the U.S.Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and India. Each of the trials is expected to enroll approximately 1,050 patients. A progressive MS trial is expected to enroll about 450 people and take place at more than 70 sites in North America and Europe.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared Immunic Therapeutics to initiate two clinical trials of its investigational medication IMU-838 (vidofludimus calcium) in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), as well as a separate trial for people with progressive types of MS. …

The FDA’s clearance to begin the trials “is yet another seminal moment for Immunic as it progresses our lead asset, IMU-838, into a pivotal program and heralds the final phase of clinical development in MS,” Daniel Vitt, PhD, the company’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

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Ibudilast, Potential Progressive MS Therapy, Awaits US Patent

Attention people with MS who have eye problems: A clinical trial reported that ibudilast significantly reduced brain volume loss, increased the thickness of a layer of the retina, and slowed the loss of macular volume. Now the treatment is about to be patented.

MediciNova announced that it will be given a U.S. patent covering the use of ibudilast (MN-166) in treating eye disease. This oral medication aims to lessen inflammation, including that of progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).

Specifically, it will cover ibudilast’s use in treating injury or damage to the macula — the part of the retina at the back of the eye — due to neuro-ophthalmologic or neurodegenerative diseases, such as MS. Once issued, the patent will be valid at least until October 2039.

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Cambridge-1 ‘Supercomputer’ to Advance UK Research in Ills Like MS

Before reading this, I had no idea what a petaflop is, but I’ve now learned that it’s one thousand trillion, or one quadrillion, computer operations per second. So, this is some whiz-bang computer! Researchers are using it to look at MRIs of people with various diseases and then create synthetic brain images that have specific disease characteristics. That’s something that hasn’t been done before. These researchers hope it will lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment, help design new treatments, and identify genetic mutations that cause diseases.

Nvidia announced the launch of the U.K.’s most powerful supercomputer — called Cambridge-1 — which uses a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and simulation to help scientists to better understand complex diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and to design new therapeutics.

Cambridge-1 is the first supercomputer designed and built by Nvidia to benefit the greater scientific community. As a DGX SuperPOD supercomputing cluster, it is reported to rank among the top 50 fastest computers worldwide and to be powered by 100% renewable energy. Cambridge-1 delivers more than 400 petaflops of AI performance, with one petaflop equal to one thousand trillion computing operations per second.

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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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

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