Conference Coverage

VIDEO: Managing the alemtuzumab paradox



– A paradox of treating people with the monoclonal antibody alemtuzumab is that the agent can be an effective therapy for many people living with multiple sclerosis, but in some patients is associated with the development of other autoimmune diseases.

“I counsel patients with multiple sclerosis that this is a high risk, high gain drug,” Alasdair Coles, MD, of the University of Cambridge (England), said at the meeting, held by the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.

Patients can make it safer through strict compliance with the drug’s risk monitoring program. But without patient compliance, alemtuzumab becomes a dangerous drug, he said in a video interview.

Knowing in advance which patients are at an elevated risk for subsequent autoimmune diseases has been difficult to predict. But researchers are getting closer, Dr. Coles said. In the future, measuring a serum factor, potentially interleukin 21, could produce a pretreatment risk assessment for each individual.

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