What research is being done on new treatments for multiple sclerosis?

There has been positive Phase III data presented for four possible disease­modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS), and there are several agents that are in the midst of Phase III trials. Some of these (altemuzemab, rituximab/ocrelizumab) seem to raise the efficacy bar to new heights, while others (teriflunomide, daclizumab) offer good efficacy and safety. Disease­modifying therapies seem to exert their effect by tempering the immune response, but some newer oral medications (BG12 and laquinimod) purport to limit degeneration and may be neuroprotective as well.

Hopefully, there will be progress in the realm of central nervous system (CNS) repair, which may offer hope of reversing multiple sclerosis (MS) disability. There is a molecule early in development that seems to inhibit a signal that halts brain development. Conceptually, this will be a huge advance for people with secondary progressive MS (SPMS), but certainly previous attempts to develop treatments for SPMS have not been successful. There is a lot of excitement about stem cells. Although the research in this area is still very early, there seems to be potential to reduce the inflammatory attack, protect cells against degeneration and perhaps induce remyelination. 

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