New data presented at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting in Boston show the benefits of ocrelizumab in relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). In a pooled analysis of Phase 3 OPERA studies, ocrelizumab reduced the relapse rate by 55 percent compared to interferon beta-1a. Additional analyses of the OPERA studies showed the efficacy of ocrelizumab in people with early relapsing MS, suppressing more than 90 percent of active MRI lesions over two years compared with interferon beta-1a in these patients. In the same early RMS patients, ocrelizumab also increased the proportion those who achieved No Evidence of Disease Activity (NEDA) by 76 percent compared with interferon beta-1a over two years.
In an analysis of pooled data from the Phase 3 relapsing MS open-label extension (OLE) studies, patients who switched from interferon beta-1a to ocrelizumab experienced reductions in relapse rates and MRI brain lesions. Moreover, patients who were treated with ocrelizumab from the start of the studies showed a sustained benefit after three years.
In a video interview with Practical Neurology® at the AAN Meeting, Fred Lublin, MD, Saunders Family Professor of Neurology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, noted that with every new approval, physicians and researchers learn a little bit more about the disease itself. “Even though we’d like to think that drug develop goes from basic science to animal studies to various phases in humans, very often drugs get approved because they worked and then we get a better understanding of how they worked,” he said. “With ocrelizumab, 10 years ago no one was talking about targeting B cells as a therapeutic mechanism as a target for multiple sclerosis, and now we know that it’s actually a very important target.” In light of the robust therapeutic pipeline for MS, Dr. Lublin expects this trend to continue. “We have a pipeline of newer agents for both relapsing and progress forms of MS, and they, too, will hopefully be successful and get approved and teach us about the underlying mechanisms of the disease process.”Next Story