Gilenya shows promise for treating children with MS

Published date: 31 Oct 2017 at 10:53AM

Photo shows toy train and child's legs on a hessian rug

New trial results for MS drug Gilenya suggest it could reduce relapses by over 80% in young people.

Encouraging findings

Researchers showed that Gilenya significantly delayed disability progression when compared with another drug.

Results showed a reduction in the number of new lesions, as well as a reduction in brain shrinkage.

The study involved 215 children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17 in 25 different countries. Three of the trial centres were in the UK. 

A challenging diagnosis

Our Director of Research, Susan Kohlhaas, said:

 “100,000 people in the UK are living with MS and around 5-10% experience their first symptoms in childhood. An MS diagnosis is challenging at any age, but when you’re young it presents additional tests – such as disruptions to school and family life. Establishing effective paediatric treatments is critical so that young people with MS can manage their symptoms and get on with growing up.

“These results are really encouraging, and show how the right treatment can transform a young person’s experience of the condition. It’s great that we are increasingly seeing therapies for both adults and children with MS, and it's important people can access effective treatments no matter what their age.”

What’s next?

Novartis, who make the drug, will now focus on getting health authorities to approve Gilenya, so children and teenagers who could benefit from it can do so as quickly as possible.

Gilenya is already approved as a treatment for adults with MS.

>> Find out more about childhood MS

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Page last updated: 01 Nov 2017
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