There’s a newly approved drug for multiple sclerosis.
There are more than 400,000 people in the United States living with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that can cause fatigue, difficulty with mobility and coordination, visual problems, and altered sensation. While there is no cure for MS, several advances in treatment over the past few decades have altered its course.
The FDA recently approved a new drug called ocrelizumab that looks to be a significant breakthrough. Developed by Genentech and marketed under the name Ocrevus, the new drug is the first MS treatment to significantly reduce episodes of new symptoms and worsening of physical disabilities in people with the two most common forms of MS. Better yet, patients would only have to get an intravenous injection once every six months, whereas the current standard treatments can require injections three times a week.
Anthony Reder, MD, professor of neurology at the University of Chicago Medicine, is a leading expert on MS, with years of experience developing and testing new treatments. He worked closely with Genentech in developing ocrelizumab, and managed a clinical trial site at UChicago with Adil Javed, MD, PhD, and Barry Arnason, MD. Science Life spoke to Reder about why the new drug is such a breakthrough, how it works, and his outlook for MS treatment.
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