Study suggests targeting B cells may help with MS

April 24, 2014

A new study suggests that targeting B cells, which are a type of white blood cell in the immune system, may be associated with reduced disease activity for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The study is released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014.

For the study, 231 people with relapsing-remitting MS received either a placebo or one of several low dosages of the drug ofatumumab, which is an anti-B cell antibody, for 24 weeks, with the first 12 weeks making up the placebo-controlled period. The main objective was to determine the effects of ofatumumab dosing regimens compared to placebo on the total number of new brain lesions assessed every four weeks over a 12-week period.

All dose groups including placebo showed lesion activity in the first four weeks with lesion suppression in all ofatumumab dose groups from weeks four to12. Researchers measured the amount of B cells in participants and compared that to the total number of new brain lesions that appeared on brain scans, which is a marker of disease activity.

The researchers found that when B cells were reduced to below a threshold of 64 cells per microliter, , as measured by appearance of new , was significantly reduced. On average, participants had an annualized rate of less than one new brain lesion per year when B cells were maintained below a threshold of 32 to 64 cells per microliter, compared with 16 lesions without treatment.

The most common side effects, defined as those occurring in at least five percent of participants and at a rate twice that of for weeks zero to12, were injection-related reaction, dizziness, anxiety, fever, and nerve pain.

Study author Daren Austin, PhD, of GlaxoSmithKline in Uxbridge, United Kingdom, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said the study results also suggest that peripheral, rather than central, B cells may be the most relevant target for anti-B cell therapy.

"These results need to be validated, of course, but the findings are interesting," Austin said. "They provide new insight into the mechanism of B in MS and present a possible new target threshold for exploring the potential benefit of anti-B cell therapy."

Ofatumumab is not approved anywhere in the world for use in the treatment of multiple scelorosis.

Explore further: New drugs offer hope for migraine prevention

Related Stories

New drugs offer hope for migraine prevention

April 22, 2014
Two new studies may offer hope for people with migraine. The two studies released today will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014.

ONO-4641 pill reduced number of MS lesions in Phase II trial

April 16, 2012
An investigational oral drug called ONO-4641 reduced the number of lesions in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to the results of a phase two clinical trial to be presented as Emerging Science (formerly known ...

Could a vaccine help ward off multiple sclerosis?

December 4, 2013
A vaccine used to prevent tuberculosis in other parts of the world may help prevent multiple sclerosis (MS) in people who show the beginning signs of the disease, according to a new study published in the December 4, 2013, ...

Study examines fingolimod therapy in patients with multiple sclerosis

July 2, 2012
The medication fingolimod reduced inflammatory lesion activity and reduced brain volume loss in patients with multiple sclerosis who participated in a two-year placebo-controlled clinical trial and were assessed by magnetic ...

Study identifies protein to repair damaged brain tissue in MS

February 7, 2014
Vittorio Gallo, PhD, Director of the Center for Neuroscience Research at Children's National Health System, and other researchers have found a "potentially novel therapeutic target" to reduce the rate of deterioration and ...

Recommended for you

The neural codes for body movements

July 21, 2017
A small patch of neurons in the brain can encode the movements of many body parts, according to researchers in the laboratory of Caltech's Richard Andersen, James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience, Tianqiao and Chrissy ...

Faulty support cells disrupt communication in brains of people with schizophrenia

July 20, 2017
New research has identified the culprit behind the wiring problems in the brains of people with schizophrenia. When researchers transplanted human brain cells generated from individuals diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia ...

Scientists discover combined sensory map for heat, humidity in fly brain

July 20, 2017
Northwestern University neuroscientists now can visualize how fruit flies sense and process humidity and temperature together through a "sensory map" within their brains, according to new research.

Scientists reveal how patterns of brain activity direct specific body movements

July 20, 2017
New research by Columbia scientists offers fresh insight into how the brain tells the body to move, from simple behaviors like walking, to trained movements that may take years to master. The discovery in mice advances knowledge ...

Team traces masculinization in mice to estrogen receptor in inhibitory neurons

July 20, 2017
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have opened a black box in the brain whose contents explain one of the remarkable yet mysterious facts of life.

Speech language therapy delivered through the Internet leads to similar improvements as in-person treatment

July 20, 2017
Telerehabilitation helps healthcare professionals reach more patients in need, but some worry it doesn't offer the same quality of care as in-person treatment. This isn't the case, according to recent research by Baycrest.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.