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Clinical Trial for Secondary-Progressive MS Opens Enrollment

Enrollment has begun for MBP8298, a therapy for people with secondary-progressive MS, according to this announcement from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The idea behind this treatment is that people with different genetic makeups, reflected in HLA types, have increased susceptibility to MS. HLA (stands for human leukocyte antigen) is a molecule on cells of the body which regulates immune system responses, by helping in the process to determine if tissue is "self" or foreign. Since MS is an autoimmune disease, that means that our immune cells are mistakenly identifying parts of our myelin as foreign invaders and attacking as if the myelin cells were bacteria or virus cells, causing demyelination.

It turns out that in an earlier study, people with certain HLA types (DR2 and DR4) had a really good response to MBP8298, which works by reducing the number of antibodies in spinal fluid that attack myelin. The drug appeared to slow down clinical progression of disability as much as four-fold (78 months as opposed to 18 months for people taking a placebo).

Participants in the trial will receive the drug or placebo intravenously twice a year for two years. The study will focus on measuring disease progression by looking at EDSS scores. It will also compare MRIs, relapse rates, quality of life scores and fatigue levels for the two groups.

To participate, you must: be 18-65 years old, have confirmed secondary-progressive MS, have had no relapse 3 months before enrollment and be positive for HLA DR2 or DR4 genes (determined by a blood test).

To find out more, including centers that are recruiting, visit this page on the Clinical Trials Database at clinicaltrials.gov.

Submitted  7/12/2007 2:58:59 PM