Whenever I go in to see my neurologist, I always have a pre-planned list of questions. I can’t help myself, I want to make sure I am prepared and use my time wisely since I don’t see him in person often.
More than just an MS specialist, my neurologist, Dr. Stefoski at Rush University Medical Center, is a researcher and partners with drug manufacturers who often have inside access to new developments and trials for treatment. “Is there a medicine coming out that you’re excited about?” I ask him at every visit. To my surprise, the last time I was in his office he finally said, “yes”.
Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) is a new medicine that — pending licensing approval — aims to help with both relapsing and primary progressive multiple sclerosis. The full press release is here, but below is a quick technical re-cap of how it works:
“OCREVUS is an investigational, humanized monoclonal antibody designed to selectively target CD20-positive B cells, a specific type of immune cell thought to be a key contributor to myelin (nerve cell insulation and support) and axonal (nerve cell) damage. This nerve cell damage can lead to disability in people with MS. Based on preclinical studies, OCREVUS binds to CD20 cell surface proteins expressed on certain B cells, but not on stem cells or plasma cells, and therefore important functions of the immune system may be preserved.”
From what I’ve read, this is supposed to be a promising option, especially for people who’ve tested positive for the JC virus and their time on Tysabri is limited.
This drug would be administered by infusion every 6 months, and is intended to be licensed and released at the end of December 2016.