MS News Notes: Myelin, SAR443820, Teenagers and Sleep, NICE Standards
Columnist Ed Tobias comments on the week's top MS news
Welcome to “MS News Notes,” a weekly Monday morning column where I comment on multiple sclerosis (MS) news stories that caught my eye last week. Here’s a look at what’s been happening:
A protein to restore myelin?
I usually don’t like to comment on stories about mouse studies, because they’re a long way away from the actual development of a treatment. However, I’d like to point out this story due to the wide interest in remyelination.
In the story “Fractalkine Found to Promote Remyelination in MS Mouse Model,” Steve Bryson reports on a study about a molecule that triggered the growth of new myelin-producing cells and reduced inflammatory brain cells in mice. Researchers hope this will lead to a new therapy for reversing myelin damage — a hallmark symptom of MS — and the potential slowing or halting of MS progression.
Trial seeking volunteers in Europe, China
SAR443820 is a small molecule that inhibits RIPK1, an enzyme that drives inflammation and nerve cell death in the central nervous system. A Phase 2 clinical trial of SAR443820 (NCT05630547) is currently underway, with subjects being recruited in Europe and China.
The story “Patient Dosing Starts in MS Phase 2 Clinical Trial of Oral SAR443820,” by Patricia Inacio, looks at the stages of the selection process and the goals of the research. Unusually, people with relapsing-remitting MS, active and nonactive secondary progressive MS, and primary progressive MS are all being included in this trial. I think that’s a good thing, as people at all stages of MS are affected by inflammation and damaged nerves.
Teenagers, sleep, and MS risk
The story “Insufficient and Poor Sleep in Teen Years Increase Risk of MS: Study” reports on research showing that teenagers who sleep less than seven hours a night are 40-50% more likely to develop MS later in life than those who get adequate rest. The researchers tie this risk to the need for the immune system to function well, and sleep helps this happen.
But here’s the rub for me: What teenager gets at least seven hours of sleep each night? And this study, which was conducted in Sweden, focused on the sleep patterns and shift work of 15- to 19-year-olds. Maybe things are different in Sweden, but how many kids in that age group do you know who do shift work?
Is NICE using appropriate standards when judging disease-modifying therapies?
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for making cost-benefit analyses of the disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) used to treat people with MS in England. An important question its experts must answer is whether or not a particular DMT loses its effectiveness over time.
This is extremely important considering the high cost of some DMTs and the fact that some may require years of treatment compared with others that have a finite treatment schedule.
As Marisa Wexler writes in “Better Standards Needed for NICE Evaluation of MS Treatments: Study,” over the past 20 years, NICE has made differing assumptions about how and to what extent a DMT’s effectiveness may diminish over time. That’s not great news for people with MS in England. More constant standards, based on evidence, seem to be in order.
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.
I have always felt I had primary progressive but was just diagnosed wrong 34 years ago. Your articles are great.
Thanks, Nancy. I appreciate your taking the time to drop a note and am glad you like what I write. I hope it's useful to you.