Aubagio (teriflunomide), an approved medicine for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), specifically targets highly metabolic and more autoreactive T-cells, analysis of the Phase 3 TERI-DYNAMIC clinical trial data shows.
The findings, contrary to expectations, support a selective effect of Aubagio on different T-cell populations.
The study “Teriflunomide treatment for multiple sclerosis modulates T cell mitochondrial respiration with affinity-dependent effects” was published in the Science Translational Medicine journal.
In MS, immune cells, or lymphocytes known as T-cells, attack and destroy myelin, the fat-rich substance that wraps around nerve fibers (axons). Myelin loss creates lesions that affect nerves of the brain and spinal cord.
Previous evidence suggested that T-cells, depending on their active or resting state, rely on specific ways of energy production or metabolism.
Aubagio, marketed by Sanofi Genzyme, is a well-known inhibitor of a mitochondrial enzyme called dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), that is crucial for the activity of T-cells. However, how Aubagio selectively targets the autoreactive T-cells is poorly understood.
To shed light on this matter, an international group of researchers used data from the TERI-DYNAMIC clinical trial that tested Aubagio in patients with relapsing form of MS to better understand how the therapy inhibited the patients’ self-immune responses.
The Phase 3, open-label TERI-DYNAMIC trial (NCT01863888) included 70 patients from Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands, aged 18 to 56. Participants received Aubagio as a 14 milligram (mg) once-daily, oral dose, and researchers assessed the changes in immune cells’ profile up to 24 weeks.
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