MS News Notes: EBV, nabiximols, MRT-6160

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,” a 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 closer look at the EBV-MS link

Much has been written over the past few years about the link between MS and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). But what might that biological link look like?

The MS News Today story “New study data may help explain EBV and MS link” reports that antibodies that are triggered to fight an EBV infection might accidentally target the brain and central nervous system.

The company EBViously recently announced plans to start a clinical trial next year for a candidate vaccine to protect against an EBV infection. If that trial is successful and a vaccine is eventually brought to market, I think it will be the closest thing to date of a silver bullet to eliminate MS in my lifetime.

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Analysis shows positive results of nabiximols

A new analysis of a pair of clinical trials has provided additional encouraging news about the cannabis oral spray nabiximols. The story “Cannabis oral spray nabiximols found to ease spasticity in MS” notes that scientists conducted an analysis of clinical trials that finished in 2004 and 2009, and the results showed “a sustained treatment effect” on spasticity and muscles spasms.

This isn’t surprising to me, because MS News Today has been publishing stories about this treatment, which is approved for use in Canada and most of Europe but not the U.S., for several years. A reader of this column, who participated in a study of nabiximols in Belgium, told me two years ago that using the spray had resulted in less spasticity in his leg.

Given all of this, I’m wondering why it’s taking so long for U.S. officials to approve nabiximols for use here.

Another type of MS treatment in the research pipeline

The story “Candidate therapy MRT-6160 chosen for MS, other autoimmune diseases” reports on how early studies of the investigative treatment candidate MRT-6160, a molecular glue degrader (MGD), support applying for an investigational new drug application, which likely will happen sometime next year.

The story explains: “In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakenly mounts an attack against the body’s own molecules, damaging cells and tissues. Such responses are mediated by two immune cell types — B-cells and T-cells — which produce antibodies and release pro-inflammatory molecules that spread the inflammation.

“Monte Rosa’s [the developing company] focus is on identifying therapeutically relevant protein targets that may be susceptible to degradation by the action of molecular glue degraders (MGD). After selecting the best targets by means of artificial intelligence, the company uses its QuEEN proprietary platform to design potent MGDs that are selective against such targets.”

I’ve questioned some uses of artificial intelligence in the healthcare field, but I believe this is an excellent use of it.

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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