review

Noninvasive Brain Stimulation Can Ease Some MS Symptoms: Review

Noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) may be able to reduce fatigue, spasticity, and pain, and improve quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a new meta-analysis reports. The review assessed several NIBS interventions targeting different brain regions. The results suggest that these techniques can have immediate effects…

Little Evidence Acthar Gel Better Than Cheaper Substitutes: Review

There is minimal evidence that the expensive anti-inflammatory medication Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection) is more effective than inexpensive corticosteroids for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other diseases, according to a new review paper. “We found no evidence where it was a conclusive slam dunk that…

Sexual Dysfunction Common in Men with MS, Review Finds

Sexual dysfunction affects more than 60% of adult men with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a review study. The data add to previous findings showing that more than two-thirds of women with MS also experience these problems, highlighting the importance of detecting and managing sexual dysfunction in…

Primary Headaches Prevalent in MS, Research Reveals

The prevalence of primary headaches — those with no clear cause — is high among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study suggests. Clinical screening of headache among MS patients could help tailor individualized treatments and ease the impact of the disease for these patients. The study, “…

FDA Extends Review of Ofatumumab for Relapsing MS to September

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is extending its review of Novartis‘ ofatumumab, a possible self-administered injection therapy for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), the company announced. Originally expected in June, the FDA decision is now expected in September. “Novartis will continue to work with the FDA to…

Swedish Study Suggests Stem Cell Transplants as Possible Treatment for Aggressive RRMS

Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplants for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) are superior to currently approved disease-modifying drugs, according to a Swedish study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. In addition, says the review, the procedure’s safety profile has improved in the last decade, and is now just…

Cell-Based Therapies in MS Remain Experimental, Expert Group Argues in Review Article

A group of experts recently concluded that clinical trials are the best way to explore whether cell-based therapies are viable options for treating multiple sclerosis. In a newly published article, MS researchers reviewed evidence on a range of cell therapies, including stem cell transplants and delivery or stimulation of various cell types. Clinical trials, the panel argued, would be the optimal way to examine which types of cells should be used, how they should be delivered, and the types and disease stages the treatments are suitable for. The article focused on four types of cell-based treatments: autologous stem cell transplants, mesenchymal and related stem cell transplants, use of drugs to manipulate stem cells in the body to boost their ability to repair, and transplants of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells to trigger new myelin production. Loss of the myelin that protects neurons is a hallmark of MS. Such treatments hold promise to attain what current disease-modifying therapies in MS have not: halting the disease without lifelong treatment that has potential side effects, and regenerating damaged tissue. In addition to reviewing the evidence surrounding cell-based treatments, the expert group focused on the availability of the treatment options outside of controlled trials. “Media attention has resulted in some cases of misrepresentation and exaggeration of therapeutic claims for cell-based therapies for multiple sclerosis and other diseases,” the team wrote. This has caused patients to seek the treatments — paying out-of-pocket — at unregulated clinics. The panel noted that several drugs in development, including opicinumab, are aimed at promoting remyelination. In addition, drugs that are already approved for other conditions might have remyelinating properties, and might be repurposed to treat MS. Although studies are ongoing, the panel noted that it is unclear if the drugs do promote remyelination. Despite ongoing research and — in some cases — clinical use of cell-based therapies for MS, these treatments should be considered experimental, the expert group concluded. They again underscored the importance of clinical trials in providing a controlled environment for patients wishing to have cell therapy, as well as a source of evidence for the feasibility of these approaches.