MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: PoNS, MS Survey, Nerve Damage Biomarker, Tolebrutinib

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by Ed Tobias |

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PoNS Device for MS-associated Gait Problems Now Available in US

One clinical trial showed that MS patients who used the portable neuromodulation stimulator (PoNS) device as part of an exercise program had greater improvements in gait than those using only the exercise program. A second trial showed that those who received PoNS stimulation with physical and cognitive rehab saw greater balance improvements than those who received only rehab.

PoNS achieves this by delivering light electrical stimulation to the tongue. It’s thought this prompts the brain to rewire itself and strengthen the circuits involved in movement and balance. But electrically stimulating my tongue? I’d have to think long and hard about that.

The portable neuromodulation stimulator (PoNS) device, which improves walking abilities in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), is now available commercially in the U.S. for patients ages 22 and older who have a prescription from their healthcare provider.

The device was approved last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which stipulated that it could be used for the short-term treatment of gait problems due to mild or moderate MS in conjunction with supervised physical therapy.

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Survey Results Show Impact of MS in All Aspects of Life

The surprise in this survey is that only 95% of respondents said that MS had changed their lives. I would’ve expected 100%. Fatigue and issues with balance and concentration were among the top symptoms. I hope researchers didn’t spend a lot of time and money to obtain these results, which seem pretty obvious to me and probably everyone else who has lived with MS.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects all aspects of life, from physical and mental health to relationships, and from work and finances to hobbies and holidays, according to results from an online survey conducted by the U.K.’s MS Trust.

Most respondents said they wanted more support to manage their fatigue, improve their emotional well-being and cognitive function, and to help other people understand MS.

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Blood Biomarker Test Granted Breakthrough Device Status by FDA

Don’t confuse the test’s breakthrough status in this report with FDA approval. The term “breakthrough” is designed to speed product development but doesn’t guarantee an FDA OK. But it certainly would be nice to add this test to those already available. The test’s developer believes it can identify relapsing-remitting MS patients who are at an increased risk of relapse within the next four years. That may help doctors tailor a more effective treatment strategy for each patient.

Quanterix’s ultra-sensitive blood test that measures a biomarker of nerve damage in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) has been granted a breakthrough device designation by U.S. regulators.

It is thought that the test, which employs the company’s Simoa technology, can accurately predict the risk of disease activity in people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) by measuring blood levels of neurofilament light chain (NfL).

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#AAN2022 – Tolebrutinib Reduces Brain Damage Up to 1.5 Years in Trial

Although this trial only involved people with RRMS, the investigational drug tolebrutinib is being developed to treat all forms of MS. This alone makes it notable. It is designed to block the inflammatory activity of immune cells that drive MS by inhibiting a protein called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK). BTK, as I’ve noted before, seems to be the next big thing in MS treatments.

Long-term treatment with tolebrutinib significantly reduced signs of disease-related brain damage in people with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to new data from a Phase 2 clinical trial and its extension study.

Specifically, the investigational oral therapy was found to keep the number of inflamed brain lesions low over about 1.5 years.

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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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