Treatment Options: Medications in the Pipeline

New Medications in the Pipeline

For the past three weeks we have looked at the different categories of medications available for multiple sclerosis, injectable medications, oral medications and infused medications. This week we will take a look at the medications that are up-and-coming in the research pipeline. There are numerous studies going on currently, far too many to list all of them in one post, but we will look at some of the biggest studies going on right now.

Laquinimod

Laquinimod is a oral medication that is currently in phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials. In 2014 it was refused a license for relapsing remitting MS due to poor trial results. It is now being studied for both relapsing remitting and primary progressive MS.
Laquinimod is thought to alter behavior of a me in cells and preventing them from crossing the blood brain barrier and damaging myelin. It also looks like Laquinimod can reduce inflammation and protect nerve structures and functions.
Several studies over the past few years were not promising. The drug did not reduce the relapse rate as compared to a placebo, but it did reduce rates of brain shrinkage and disability progression.

Ofatumumab

Ofatumumab is an injection or an infusion that is being researched for relapsing MS. Phase 2 trials were completed and now Phase 3 trials have begun. In these phase 3 trials the medication is injected under the skin every four weeks. Ofatumumab is an antibody and is thought to work by binding to the surface of a specific immune cell, B cells, and reduce their numbers.
In past clinical trials the results were very promising. Ofatumumab reduced relapse rates and slowed worsening of disability more effectively than Aubagio and Ofatumumab reduced new brain lesions by up to 90% as compared with placebos.

HSCT

HSCT is an intense chemotherapy treatment for multiple sclerosis, it is also known as stem cell treatment. It works by removing harmful immune cells then the individuals own stem cells are used to regrow the immune system.
There are several clinical trials that are going on using stem cell treatment for MS. Usually the individuals involved in these trials have had disease progression despite being on medication previously.
Results have been generally promising and showed that stem cell therapy has been effective at reducing relapses. Several studies also showed that stem cell therapy has been able to reduce disease progression as evidenced by improved EDSS scores.
There are over a hundred clinical trials currently going on looking for new treatments for Multiple Sclerosis and it’s related symptoms. Various studies include “Pilot study of Mirabegron and behavioral modification including pelvic floor exercise for overactive bladder in multiple sclerosis (MIRROR)” which is in Phase 4 and “A Multiple Dose Study of ABT-555 in Subjects With Relapsing Forms of Multiple Sclerosis” which is in Phase 1.
It is an exciting time in MS research. Hopefully more treatments that look at gut flora and the effects it has on MS progression will be completed soon as well!