Ofatumumab, an investigational B-cell therapy being developed by Novartis, demonstrated encouraging results in lowering relapse rates and active brain lesions in people with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) enrolled in the ASCLEPIOS trials.
For Stephen L. Hauser, MD, an investigator in the ASCLEPIOS trials, these results represent a decades-long journey to better understand MS and what he calls a “magnificent success story” in the overall treatment of the disease.
According to Hauser, who presented the trial data last month at the 2019 Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), these results warrant a deeper exploration to determine ofatumumab’s effects on “silent” progression, or progression independent of relapse activity (PIRA), along with its dose-dependent and long-term benefits in lessening disability progression.
Efforts have been focused on so-called anti-CD20 therapies — antibodies that homes in on a specific protein called CD20 on the surface of B-cells, targeting these cells for destruction and resulting in B-cell depletion.
Ofatumumab is one such antibody and may represent a highly effective and more convenient option for patients, as it is administered by an under-the-skin injection that can be done at home.
Monthly injections of ofatumumab proved superior to Aubagio (teriflunomide) pills to treat both relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and active secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) in the Phase 3 ASCLEPIOS I and II trials (NCT02792218; NCT02792231). The therapy led to a more than 50% decrease in relapse rate, and more than 90% reduction in active brain lesions, compared with Aubagio.
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