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Friday, July 3, 2015

Potential treatment could reduce relapses and disability progression

Pharmaceutical company Roche has announced the completion two phase 3 trials (OPERA I and OPERA II), testing ocrelizumab in people with relapsing forms of MS.

The trials covered relapsing remitting MS and secondary progressive MS with relapses, involving over 1,600 people in 40 countries.  

Initial results announced

The trials compared ocrelizumab to interferon beta-1a , which is an existinglicensed treatment.
The full results from the trial have not yet been released but in a press release Roche reported that after two years, ocrelizumab significantly reduced the annual relapse rate and the progression of clinical disability, as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).
They also reported that ocrelizumab significantly reduced the number of lesions in the brain, as measured by MRI scans.
The trials involved over 1,600 people in 40 countries.

How ocrelizumab works

Ocrelizumab is an antibody that targets specific cells thought to play a key role in the damage to myelin and nerve fibres  that occurs in MS.
It is thought to prevent the immune system from attacking the nervous system. It does this by binding to proteins on the surface of the cells involved. It is taken by intravenous infusion (a drip).  

What happens next?

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