Conference Coverage

Highlights on Treatment of Progressive MS From ECTRIMS 2020


Promising phase 3 trial results from French researchers indicate that the first-in-class oral TKI masitinib may provide a new treatment option for patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) or nonactive secondary progressive MS (SPMS).

The masitinib study was noted by Dr Mark Freedman, professor of neurology at the University of Ottawa, as among the key findings on PPMS presented at ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS 2020. The French study reported that patients receiving masitinib over 96 weeks experienced significant delay in disability progression.

Dr Freedman explains how an analysis done by Mellon Center researchers may change how clinicians counsel patients about the risk for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) related to fingolimod treatment. Their research shows the incidence rate of PML among patients receiving fingolimod to be very low — in fact, fewer than 40 times that of patients receiving natalizumab.

Finally, Dr Freedman discuses an ad hoc analysis presented by leading MS researchers from University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, which points to plasma glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) levels as a prognostic biomarker of increased risk for worsening disability. Using data from the EXPAND trial, researchers found significant risk for increased disability among patients with nonactive SPMS who had elevated baseline GFAP.

Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute; Director, Multiple Sclerosis Research Unit, The Ottawa Hospital – General Campus, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Mark S. Freedman, MSc, MD, has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships: Serve(d) on the advisory board, board of directors, or other similar groups for: Actelion (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson); Alexion; Atara Biotherapeutics; BayerHealthcare; BiogenIdec; Celgene; Clene Nanomedicine; GRI Bio; Hoffman La-Roche; Magenta Therapeutics; Merck Serono; MedDay; Novartis; Sanofi-Genzyme; Teva Canada Innovation. Serve(d) as a member of a speakers bureau for: Sanofi-Genzyme; EMD Serono. Received honoraria or consultation fees for: Actelion (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson); Alexion; BiogenIdec; Celgene (BMS); EMD Inc; Sanofi-Genzyme; Hoffman La-Roche; Merck Serono; Novartis; Teva Canada Innovation­. Received research or educational grants from: Sanofi-Genzyme Canada; Hoffman-La Roche; EMD Inc.

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