Current phase of trial: phase 3
Type of MS: primary and secondary progressive MS
Find out more about masitinib
How does masitinib work
Masitinib is thought to block some of the body’s inflammatory responses, which could suppress the immune attacks that occur in MS.
Masitinib is also being trialled in treat several types of cancer, as it can stop some cells from growing or dividing.
How is masitinib taken?
It is taken daily as a tablet.
A phase 3 trial is testing if masitinib can improve mobility, hand/arm coordination and cognitive function in progressive MS. It will involve 600 people with primary progressive or relapse-free secondary progressive MS, who will either take masitinib or a placebo.
In March 2017 AB Science announced that masitinib has passed a non-futility test, which suggests that the treatment has shown signs of being effective. Based on these results, the Independent Data Safety Monitoring Committee (IDMC) recommended that the study continues. Results are expected in 2018.
In a small phase 2 trial, masitinib didn't show any significant benefits compared with placebo. But researchers reported some promising signs that the treatment could work in progressive MS.
The trial involved 35 people with progressive MS, who took either low or high dose masitinib, or a placebo.
What are the side effects of masitinib?
The most common side effects reported are loss of strength or energy, rash, nausea, fluid retention and diarrhoea.
How does masitinib compare with current therapies?
Masitinib has not been directly compared with other treatments.
When is masitinib likely to become available?
If the phase 3 trial is successful, it may be necessary to carry out further studies to assess the effectiveness of masitinib in larger numbers of people. A license could then be sought in the UK.