Ocrelizumab clinical trial for advanced progressive MS
A first for progressive MS
Ocrelizumab (drug name Ocrevus) has already been licensed for relapsing MS and early primary progressive MS. Researchers will now investigate whether it can help people with primary progressive MS retain the use of their hands.
The trial will involve over 1,000 people with primary progressive MS across multiple countries.
In the UK, people with MS who can't use their legs and rely on a wheelchair are currently not eligible for treatment with disease modifying therapies (DMTs). However, there's increasing evidence to suggest continuing with treatment can slow down worsening of hand and arm function.
Recognising the importance of hand function and MS
Previous trials focused on whether a drug can help to preserve a person’s ability to walk, but wheelchair users couldn't take part. This new trial will be the first to recognise the importance of wheelchair users retaining the use of their hands.
Lead researcher Professor Gavin Giovannoni from Queen Mary said:
"Addressing the needs of people with progressive MS, who are typically more advanced in their condition, is one of the major frontiers in MS research."
Driving research into more MS treatments
Our Director of Research, Dr Susan Kohlhaas says:
“It’s wonderful to finally see clinical trials for people with advanced progressive MS. There are over 100,000 people with MS in the UK. Those who rely on a wheelchair haven’t yet been included in clinical trials – and still don’t have anything to stop or slow disability progression.
“As we drive research into more and better treatments, this is the first drug trial to recognise the importance of hand function for independence. We’re excited to see the results.”
The next research breakthrough is in reach
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£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.
£100could pay for half an hour of MRI use, so researchers can monitor the success of clinical trials and understand MS in more detail.
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