A Phase II/III study of Rituxan® (rituximab) for primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) did not slow the likelihood of disease progression during the 96-week treatment period. A total of 439 patients from approximately 60 sites in the U.S. and Canada were randomized 2:1 to receive either four treatment courses of Rituxan six months apart or placebo. Rituxan is an antibody that helps knock out a type of immune cell called B cells. A Phase II trial in relapsing-remitting MS showed a 58% reduction in relapses.
Primary progressive MS causes a slow, continuous progression of disability without relapses. Primary progressive disease affects 10 to 15 percent of people with MS. Unfortunately, no treatments have been proven to work in this type of MS. A large primary progressive study, Copaxone did not reduce the likelihood of disability progression overall. Analysis after the trial was over, showed a benefit of Copaxone in men that was statistically significant.
BY: Barry Singer, MD DATE: July 9, 2008 TOPIC: MS Research News