Anti-LINGO-1 (also known as BIIB033) is a treatment in development by the pharmaceutical company Biogen. It’s currently being tested for people with optic neuritis, relapsing remitting MS and secondary progressive MS in phase 2 clinical trials.

Current phase of trial: phase 2

Type of MS: relapsing remitting and secondary progressive MS, and optic neuritis.

How does anti-LINGO-1 work?

LINGO is a protein found in nerve cells and myelin-making cells called oligodendrocytes. Blocking the activity of this protein with an antibody called anti-LINGO-1 has been shown to result in myelin repair in animal with a condition similar to MS.

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How is anti-LINGO-1 taken?

Anti-LINGO-1 is an intravenous infusion.

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Latest Research


A phase 2 trial (also by Biogen) testing the safety and effectiveness of anti-LINGO-1 in people with relapsing forms of MS (both relapsing remitting and/or secondary progressive MS) began in April 2013. In June 2016 Biogen reported that anti-LINGO-1 had missed its primary end point. The treatment failed to improve disability, physical or cognitive function.

This trial involved 416 participants, who were divided into five groups, each receiving either 3, 10, 30 or 100 mg of anti-LINGO-1 per kilo weight, or a placebo, once every 4 weeks for 72 weeks. All participants were also taking beta-interferon-1a injections once weekly. Researchers investigated whether anti-LINGO-1 can improve the function of the nervous system, cognitive ability or disability over the 72 week timeframe.

RENEW trial

In April 2015, results from a phase 2 clinical trial testing the safety effectiveness of anti-LINGO-1 as a treatment for optic neuritis were announced at a conference.

The trial involved 82 participants with a first episode of acute optic neuritis. They were given 6 doses of anti-LINGO-1 (100 mg per kilo weight, once every 4 weeks for 20 weeks) or a placebo infusion.

Biogen, the manufacturers, found that those taking anti-LINGO-1 had better signalling along the optic nerve, suggesting myelin repair had taken place. Participants had a 41 per cent improvement in nerve signalling compared to the placebo group. While these results still need to be published in a scientific journal, these results are the first indication that a drug could promote myelin repair in MS.

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What are the side effects of anti-LINGO-1?

Some adverse effects of MS were reported in the RENEW trial: two participants had hypersensitivity reactions to the infusion itself, while one participant had an increase in liver enzymes (which was resolved by discontinuing the treatment).

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How does anti-LINGO-1 compare with current therapies?

Anti-LINGO-1 hasn’t yet been directly compared with other treatments for MS, so it isn't possible to draw conclusions about its relative effectiveness at this time.

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When is anti-LINGO-1 likely to become available?

If the phase 2 (SYNERGY) trial of anti-LINGO-1 in people with MS is successful, a larger scale phase 3 trial will be carried out to confirm its effectiveness as a treatment for people with MS.

Research is still at an early stage and it will be a few years before we know if anti-LINGO-1 is an effective treatment for people with MS.

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