Medescape

Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

New Drug For MS

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheets around the neuronal axons, which causes disturbance in the conduction of action potentials. MS is usually treated with interferon beta-1a, but now a new drug, Alemtuzumab, has been shown to be far more effective. Alemtuzumab was originally used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and it it works by destroying all of the body’s lymphocytes. In MS, it is these lymphocytes that attack the myelin sheets, so scientists theorized that it could possibly be effective in MS also. Well,  Alasdair Coles et al. did a study, and Alemtuzumab completely outperformed interferon beta-1a, reducing the number of relapses by 78% and reduced the risk of developing disability by 71%, compared to the conventional treatment. The theory is that by killing all the existing lymphocytes, you sort of “reboot” the immune system, and the new cells produced does not have the antibodies that causes the old ones to be so destructive towards myelin. Alemtuzumab is actually the first drug ever that has been shown to halt and even reverse the pathological processes of MS. Granted, there were some side effects, but nothing that could not be managed with other drugs. So, extremely promising…

Molecular model of Alemtuzumab

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October 23, 2008 - Posted by | Medicine | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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