Steady advances made since recognition of neuromyelitis optica 20 years ago



From the 1999 identification of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) as a disease state distinct from multiple sclerosis and first diagnostic criteria to the present time, the progress made in the understanding of NMO has been continuous. At the annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, Brian Weinshenker, MD, professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., summarized some of the milestones in the timeline of NMO research.

These milestones include the 2004 identification of NMO-IgG, an autoantibody marker of NMO that distinguishes it from multiple sclerosis; the 2005 discovery that the antibody was reactive to aquaporin 4, the dominant CNS water channel and an astrocyte protein; further characterizations of NMO manifestations; the revised international panel diagnostic criteria in 2015; and the current phase 3 trials of three potential treatments for NMO – eculizumab, inebilizumab, and satralizumab.

Dr. Weinshenker reported the following disclosures: receiving royalties from the RSR Group, Oxford University, Hospices Civils de Lyon, and MVZ Labor PD Dr. Volkmann und Kollegen for a patent of NMO-IgG as a diagnostic test for NMO and related disorders; serving as an adjudication committee member for clinical trials in NMO being conducted by MedImmune and Alexion; and consulting for Chugai regarding a clinical trial for NMO.

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