MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Ublituximab, ATA188, COVID-19, Cognitive Rehab

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by Ed Tobias |

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Ublituximab, Potential Relapsing MS Therapy, Up for FDA Approval

Like Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) and Kesimpta (ofatumumab), ublituximab targets the CD20 protein that’s found on the surface of B-cells in the immune system. It then binds to it and kills the cell, reducing the number of cells that are attacking the nerve fibers of people with MS. Unlike other antibody medications, however, ublituximab is designed without certain sugar molecules. Removing those sugars increases the medication’s potency, so a lower dose may be able to achieve the same result as a higher dose of other disease-modifying therapies.

TG Therapeutics has applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval of ublituximab, the company’s investigational anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody therapy for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS).

Its application was based on data from the ULTIMATE 1 (NCT03277261) and ULTIMATE 2 (NCT03277248) Phase 3 studies that demonstrated ublituximab was superior to the approved therapy Aubagio (teriflunomide) in lowering the frequency of MS relapses over two years.

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#ECTRIMS2021 – ATA188 Benefits in SPMS, PPMS Hint at Remyelination

The holy grail of remyelination is reported in a poster presentation at the upcoming annual Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis. Any medication that offers hope for repairing our damaged MS nerves always catches my eye.

The method of action of the ATA188 treatment is also an eye-catcher. The medication is designed to attack cells infected with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). There’s been evidence that EBV infects immune B-cells, causing them to wrongly produce antibodies that attack the myelin sheath, resulting in MS symptoms.

An investigational immunotherapy, ATA188 showed it could reverse disability and improve exercise capacity in people with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), Atara Biotherapeutics, its developer, reported in an update on a Phase 1 trial and its long-term extension study.

EMBOLD trial findings based on MRI brain imaging data measuring the magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) also suggest gains in these ATA188-treated patients may be tied to remyelination, or the regrowth of the myelin sheath, the fatty material surrounding nerve fibers that is damaged in MS.

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Having MS Did Not Increase Risk of Severe COVID-19 in German Study

As we travel further along the COVID-19 highway, more studies are appearing about concerns specifically mentioned by people with MS. The good news reported in this study results from examining the records of every person hospitalized with COVID-19 in Germany in 2020.

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are not at greater risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes, according to a study of more than 150,000 hospitalized people in Germany.

The study, “Multiple sclerosis is not associated with an increased risk for severe COVID-19: a nationwide retrospective cross-sectional study from Germany,” was published in Neurological Research and Practice.

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Cognitive Rehab ‘Effective, Low-risk’ in Treating Difficulties Due to MS

Cognitive rehab manages cognitive problems without using medication. Instead, it uses work-like activities to ease cognitive symptoms, such as “cog fog.” One rehab strategy aims to strengthen cognitive skills, while another helps people regain skills they have already lost. These researchers say both approaches work.

Cognitive rehabilitation is an effective therapy for cognitive problems brought on by multiple sclerosis (MS), a review study highlights.

“Clinicians should consider this low-cost, low-risk, yet effective treatment approach for their patients,” its researchers wrote.

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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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