MS News Notes: Brain Stimulation, Bright Light, ABA-101, Foralumab

Columnist Ed Tobias comments on the week's top MS news

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by Ed Tobias |

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Welcome to “MS News Notes,” where I comment on multiple sclerosis (MS) news stories that caught my eye last week. Here’s a look at what’s been happening:

Possible nonmedicinal treatment for fatigue, spasticity, pain

Wouldn’t it be nice to find a treatment that helps people with MS handle three of their most troubling symptoms — fatigue, spasticity, and pain? In the MS News Today story “Noninvasive Brain Stimulation Can Ease Some MS Symptoms: Review,Joana Vindeirinho takes a look at several studies of noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS). They indicate that this technique could have immediate effects on these symptoms and that some improvements could last for over a month.

On the other hand, the researchers write, “most of the included studies lack a good methodology, and more high-quality randomized clinical trials are needed.” OK, researchers, is anyone planning to look into this further?

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Sweeter Than Honey: Finding the Balance That Works for You

Could bright light ease fatigue?

Another intriguing technique being studied is using bright light to help ease MS fatigue. In this very small study, researchers used bright light therapy (BLT) with a machine that produces a consistently bright light.

Twenty-six people with MS were treated with a BLT machine for 30 minutes each morning for two weeks. Half of the machines were unaltered and half were modified so they would only emit dim red light, rather than the bright white light used in BLT.

Marisa Wexler reports in “Bright Light Therapy Shows Promise for Easing MS Fatigue in Small Trial” that subjects using the real machine had a clinically significant decrease in their fatigue severity scale. The other half did not. However, a study with a larger number of participants is needed to test whether the results are statistically meaningful.

New DMT for progressive MS enters research pipeline

Only a handful of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are approved for treating primary or secondary MS, so news of the possibility of a new DMT designed for those MS stages is welcome.

The story “1st Abata Candidate Will Be T-cell Therapy ABA-101 for Progressive MS” reports on some early studies that aim to support an application to U.S. regulatory authorities for permission to start testing the therapy on humans. Abata Therapeutics hopes to start clinical trials of ABA-101 in 2024.

Early foralumab study shows promise

I generally don’t comment much on mouse studies, because they’re a long way from the finish line of bringing a medication to market. But foralumab is special for two reasons: It’s a nasal spray, and it’s intended for nonactive secondary progressive MS, which is what I have.

As I mentioned, possible treatments for progressive MS are big news to many of us. The story “Foralumab Nasal Spray for MS Well-tolerated in Mice for 3 Months” reports that Tiziana Life Sciences hopes to begin Phase 2 clinical testing sometime in 2023.

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.


Paula avatar


Myself, like you and tons of others are patiently waiting for this to be approved.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Paula,

I don't know if you're referring to ABA-101 or foralumab but both would certainly be beneficial. But, "patiently waiting?" I'm not sure how patient all of us are. :-)


Janet Bennett avatar

Janet Bennett

I've been using a bright circadian light in the mornings for about 15-20 minutes--very carefully since I'm bipolar and have MS, but it does seem to help with my moods. I got it because of seasonal affective disorder, but I find these new studies to be very interesting. I'd like to see more of them.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Janet -

Thanks for sharing that. I find I do much better, physically and mentally, when the days are longer. I think that's naturally providing some of the benefits of bright light treatment.


FB avatar


Re magnetic brain stimulation and the question "OK, researchers, is anyone planning to look into this further?" - yes there are ongoing blinded clinical trials of TMS in Australia - this one is recruiting right now.

Reg Bavis avatar

Reg Bavis

I have ms was dioginished in 1995 I am looking for a product that will help me walk

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Reg,

That's really a question for your neurologist. Depending on how advanced your MS is now, there are many disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) that might help slow your progression and even ease some symptoms. There is also Ampyra, which is a pill that has improved walking somewhat for some people.



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