Daclizumab, manufactured under the trade name Zenapax, is a humanized monoclonal antibody that has been used in treating extreme immune responses in transplant patients and is currently an investigational drug for the treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
How Zenapax Works
Chemically, daclizumab is a monoclonal antibody of the class 1 Immunoglobulin (Ig1) family that binds to the CD25 subunit of IL-2 (Interleukin 2) receptors expressed on activated T-cells and regulatory T-cells, both of which are involved in innate immune responses. These immune responses form the crux of MS pathogenesis, and because of this, daclizumab is expected to block the activation of these immune cells by binding to the CD25 receptors, and reduce inflammatory damage caused to the central nervous system.
History of Zenapax
Clinical trials for Zenapax executed between 2007 and 2013 among healthy participants as well as patients with MS showed a dramatic reduction in inflammatory damage caused, as well as an accompanied increase in the population of immunoregulatory CD56(bright) Natural Killer (NK) cells that penetrated the blood-brain barrier and killed the harmful T-cells, which were the causative agents of MS in these patients.
To date, there have been Phase 1, 2 and 3 trials conducted with MS patients either in combination with Interferon Beta or in comparison with a placebo, to test for the safety, tolerability and efficacy of the drug.
Next Steps For Zenapax
In extended trials for the Phase 3 SELECT study, positive long term safety and efficacy results were published and supported further assessment of daclizumab for RRMS.
Common side effects associated with this drug include skin reactions and allergies, sleeplessness, tremor, headache, dizziness, gastrointestinal disorders, and edema. Patients with infectious diseases saw their conditions worsened in some cases due to the immunomodulatory role of the drug. Patients with liver and kidney problems also reported severe discomfort with the use of daclizumab.
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