Experimental Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), but there are therapies approved to treat the disease and manage symptoms. A number of experimental therapies also are currently being tested in clinical trials, ranging from symptomatic treatments to those that target the underlying cause of the disease. Eventually, this research may even lead to a cure for MS.
Some of the therapies currently being developed to treat MS and its related symptoms are summarized below.
Amiselimod (formerly known as MT-1303) is an investigational sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator being evaluated for people with relapsing-remitting MS, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases. It was last tested in Phase 2 trials.
ATL1102 is a therapeutic candidate for relapsing forms of MS. It is an antisense therapy designed to reduce levels of CD49d, potentially reducing inflammation and disease progression. It has been tested in Phase 2 trials in MS patients.
ATX-MS-1467 is a potential disease-modifying therapy for relapsing-remitting MS. The experimental treatment consists of four short peptides derived from the basic protein of myelin, which is a key autoantigen (a trigger for an auto-immune response) in MS. It was last studied in a Phase 2 trial.
CNM-Au8 is an experimental therapy being developed to treat patients with MS, as well as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that CNM-Au8 is able to protect motor neurons from severe damage and death. A Phase 2 trial is currently recruiting MS patients.
Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA) has been approved to treat upper and lower limb spasticity in adults (a common symptom of MS) and is currently being studied as a treatment for overactive bladder in MS patients. It is administered as an injection directly into the muscle.
Evobrutinib is an investigational oral medication to treat relapsing MS. Evobrutinib blocks the BTK protein and prevents the activation and function of B-cells and subsequently curbs T-cell function and inflammation. Two Phase 3 trials are currently recruiting participants with relapsing forms of MS.
Ibudilast is a potential oral treatment for all forms of MS and other neurodegenerative disorders. The therapy has been marketed in Japan and Korea to treat post-stroke complications and bronchial asthma for more than two decades. Positive results from Phase 2 trials have been reported.
Laquinimod (also known as nerventra or ABR-215062) is an investigational therapy being developed to treat neurodegenerative diseases, including primary progressive and relapsing-remitting MS. It has been studied in Phase 3 trials in relapsing-remitting MS.
Lipoic acid (also known as alpha lipoic acid) is an antioxidant available as an over-the-counter supplement that is currently studied as a potential neuroprotector for people with MS. In animal models of MS, it has has been shown to reduce inflammation and degeneration of the optic nerve and spinal cord. A Phase 2 trial in progressive MS is currently recruiting.
Masitinib is an oral immunomodulatory medication being developed as a possible treatment for progressive forms of MS and other diseases. It belongs to a class of chemical compounds known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Positive results of a Phase 2b/3 trial were recently reported in primary progressive and non-active secondary progressive MS.
Minocycline is an oral antibiotic used to treat acne or bacterial infections, including respiratory and urinary tract infections. It is believed to have immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties, all of which may have implications for MS. A Phase 3 trial is currently recruiting patients with clinically isolated syndrome.
NDC-1308 is being developed to repair the myelin sheath of demyelinated axons (nerve fibers), a major cause of MS. It is specifically targeted to heal motor neuron damage in people with secondary progressive MS. It is in the preclinical phase of development.
Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody currently being investigated as a potential therapy for MS. It is an approved treatment for various types of blood cancer, and is marketed under the name Rituxan in the U.S. and MabThera in Europe. It is currently used off-label for MS. A Phase 3 trial in relapsing-remitting MS is ongoing.
Simvastatin is an approved statin commonly used to lower cholesterol. It is being studied as a potential treatment to slow the progression of MS. Statins have been shown to potentially have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. Several trials are potentially recruiting patients to test the treatment.
Temelimab is a selective monoclonal antibody being developed for the treatment of MS. Studies have suggested that Temelimab may reduce the body’s inflammatory response. A Phase 2 trial is currently recruiting patients with relapsing forms of MS.
Tcelna is being developed as a personalized T-cell immunotherapy for people with secondary progressive MS. It is an autologous T-cell vaccine containing autoreactive T-cells. It was last studied in a Phase 2 trial.