MS news notes: Evobrutinib, a portable MRI, fatigue, depression
Columnist Ed Tobias comments on the week's top MS news
Welcome to “MS News Notes,” a Monday morning column where I comment on multiple sclerosis (MS) news stories that caught my eye last week.
In this column, I’ll be highlighting some MS News Today stories from last week’s Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) forum, held Feb. 23-25 virtually and in San Diego. Here’s a look at what’s been happening:
Phase 2 trial results of evobrutinib
Evobrutinib is an experimental oral BTK inhibitor being developed for people with relapsing forms of MS. It selectively targets B-cells in the immune system, wiping out those that harm the central nervous system while ignoring normal ones. (In contrast, disease-modifying therapies like Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) and rituximab wipe out all of the B-cells in the immune system, leading to a greater chance of infection.)
As Inês Martins reports in “ACTRIMS 2023: Evobrutinib safely keeps relapse rates low after 4 years,” a Phase 2 trial of evobrutinib has produced some encouraging data: It was well tolerated and is showing low relapse rates after four years of treatment.
Smaller, portable MRI device may be on the horizon
What would you think of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device that was small enough to be brought into your home? (It’s described as being about the size of the R2-D2 droid in the “Star Wars” movie series.) I’d certainly jump — if I could — at the chance to use it, rather than sliding into that narrow tube at a hospital or imaging center.
It’s not here yet, but Marisa Wexler’s MS News Today story “ACTRIMS 2023: Portable MRI device able to detect brain lesions in MS” reports that it’s being developed and tested on MS patients now.
Fighting MS fatigue
Fatigue can be one of the worst symptoms of MS. I use a combination of exercise and the medication modafinil (often known by the brand name Provigil) to battle mine.
In this study, researchers compared the use of modafinil for treating fatigue with cognitive behavioral therapy, and then a combination of the two. As Wexler writes in the story “ACTRIMS 2023: Medication, talk therapy both ease MS-related fatigue,” the strategies are comparable, but patients thought a combination of the two provided better overall health and well-being. Read the story for more details.
Anxiety, depression appear before diagnosis
Did you feel something just wasn’t right in the years before your MS diagnosis? Were you anxious or depressed?
Mental health problems are common among people with MS after they’ve been diagnosed. But in the story “ACTRIMS 2023: Anxiety, depression more common in MS before onset,” Lindsey Shapiro reports that researchers are seeing these problems in patients with MS as early as five years before they’re diagnosed. The problems then increased as the diagnosis date approached.
What were your favorite MS stories of the week? Please share in the comments below or join the conversation at our MS News Today Forums.
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.