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October 13, 2016
According to new research published in Neurology, a drug recommended for the treatment of RRMS - alemtuzumab - may improve some of the physical disability associated with the disease.
Alemtuzumab is a disease-modifying drug (DMD). DMDs are a group of treatments for people with RRMS, which reduce the number of relapses individuals experience, as well as reducing the severity of relapses.
Alemtuzumab kills certain types of cells - T and B cells - made by the immune system. The function of T and B cells is to attack viruses and bacteria in the body. However, in MS, these cells attack the covering around the nerves in the brain and spinal cord called myelin. Alemtuzumab prevents T and B cells entering the brain and spinal cord, thus stopping them damaging the nerves.
"While many MS drugs slow the progress of disability, there have been little data about the ability of current treatments to help restore function previously lost to MS," says study author Dr. Gavin Giovannoni, Ph.D., of Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom.
Researchers enrolled participants with RRMS who had not responded well to one or more MS drugs and divided them into two groups. The first group of 426 people was treated with alemtuzumab, while the second group of 202 people was treated with the drug interferon beta-1a. Beta interferons reduce and may prevent the inflammation that damages nerves in MS.
Participants' level of disability was assessed at the start of the study and then again every 3 months for a duration of 2 years.
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