A new solution for those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis

Overview of MS

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that affects the central nervous system and the flow of information through the body. The immune system of someone with MS attacks the myelin sheath, which is the part of a cell that transmits impulses and information. The cause is unknown, and there are no cures at the moment, however there are various treatments that help reduce the symptoms. The most effective and safe drug that is widely available is rebif, but the Swiss healthcare company Roche has recently come up with ocrelizumab, which could be the key to a better future for those with the disease. There are two different types of the disease, Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) and Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). People with PPMS observe a continuous and steady decrease of neurological functioning, whereas RRMS is characterized by distinct attacks where functioning will be incredibly low, followed by periods of time where the condition is unnoticeable.
Big image
This graph shows the decrease in lesions in MS patients who tried ocrelizumab for a 144 week period. Ocrelizumab is shown by the green and blue lines, which are far below the other drugs that it's being compared to.

Benefits of Ocrelizumab over Rebif

Ocrelizumab has many benefits over the previous best drug, rebif. First of all, it only needs to be injected once every six months. This helps to ensure that it is taken in the correct dosage because people are much less likely to skip taking it if they only need it twice per year. Rebif, on the other hand, is injected three times per week, which is much more frequent. This has other problems in the long run, because the skin in the injection sites begins to harden over the course of many years of treatment and needles have a harder time penetrating the skin to get the medicine into the body. The actual drug itself is also more effective than Rebif. Many people who have tried the treatment have seen dramatic decreases in the rate of worsening in their conditions. Both drugs target cells to prevent them from triggering attacks from the immune system to the myelin sheath, but ocrelizumab has been shown to be more effective. The biggest advantage of ocrelizumab over rebif is that rebif has been shown to not help with PPMS. It is effective for RRMS, but people with PPMS have had little success with it. Ocrelizumab treats symptoms of PPMS and can decelerate worsening.


Ammam, Malika, PHD. "Ocrelizumab: A Promising New Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis with Minimal Side Effects." Multiple Sclerosis News Today ICal. BioNews Services, 17 Sept. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2015/09/17/ocrelizumab-promising-new-treatment-multiple-sclerosis-minimal-side-effects/>.

Anderson, Brian. "Roche's New Multiple Sclerosis Drug Could Revolutionize Treatment." Nature World Report. Nature World Report, 09 Oct. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://www.natureworldreport.com/2015/10/roches-new-multiple-sclerosis-drug-could-be-a-game-changer/>.

Bilecky, Melissa. "Ocrelizumab: A Promising New Treatment for Progressive MS - Modern Day MS." Modern Day MS. N.p., 15 Oct. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://moderndayms.com/2015/10/ocrelizumab-a-promising-new-treatment-for-progressive-ms/>.

Hughes, Sue. "'Ground-Breaking' Ocrelizumab Data Dominate ECTRIMS." Medscape Log In. WebMD LLC, 16 Oct. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/852791>.

"Ocrelizumab." Multiple Sclerosis Trust. N.p., 8 Oct. 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/ocrelizumab>.

Semedo, Daniela. "Roche's New Melanoma Drug, Cotellic, Gets FDA Approval." Melanoma News Today. BioNews Services, 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://melanomanewstoday.com/2015/11/12/roches-new-melanoma-drug-cotellic-gets-fda-approval/>.

Silva, Patricia, PHD. "Could Genentech's Ocrelizumab Become the First Effective Primary Progressive MS Therapy?" Multiple Sclerosis News Today ICal. BioNews Services, 29 Sept. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2015/09/29/genentechs-ocrelizumab-become-first-effective-primary-progressive-ms-therapy/>.

"Trial of Ocrelizumab in Relapsing MS Is Currently Recruiting in NSW." MS Research Australia. Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia Clinical Trials Network, 22 Nov. 2012. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <http://www.mstrials.org.au/trial-ocrelizumab-relapsing-ms-currently-recruiting-nsw>.

Weiler, Nicholas. "Myelin Cells Swing Along Blood Vessels to Traverse the Brain." UC San Francisco. The Regents of the University of California, 21 Jan. 2016. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/01/401381/myelin-cells-swing-along-blood-vessels-traverse-brain>.