Treating people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) for one year with the immune-modulating therapy Gilenya (fingolimod) reduced the numbers of antibody-producing B-cells and of T helper cells, a study finds.
These findings mapped, in detail, the alterations in white blood cell populations following Gilenya treatment.
The study, “Treatment effects of fingolimod in multiple sclerosis: Selective changes in peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets,” was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Several disease-modifying treatments for MS work by modulating or suppressing the immune system in various ways. Gilenya, marketed by Novartis, is one such therapy, approved for the treatment of people with RRMS ages 10 and older.
Gilenya acts to retain lymphocytes (white blood cells) in the lymph nodes, preventing them from circulating around the body and reaching the brain and spinal cord. This reduces inflammation in people with MS. In a clinical trial supporting its approval, Gilenya reduced the number of circulating lymphocytes by around 70%.
Despite its success, how Gilenya treatment directly affects the specific types and numbers of lymphocytes has not yet been described in detail.
Thus, investigators at the Linköping University in Sweden mapped out the absolute numbers of white blood cell populations in MS patients who had been treated with Gilenya for one year.
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