New Drug Trial Shows Positive Results In Treating Progressive MS

For the second time in the past six months, researchers at Cleveland Clinic have found that an investigational drug for treating a form of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been able to slow progression of the disease.

In the most recent findings, the oral drug siponimod – a selective sphingosine receptor modulator — has effectively slowed progression of disability in patients with secondary progressive MS by 21 percent, compared to the placebo group. The Phase 3 EXPAND trial – conducted at Cleveland Clinic and 291 other sites in 31 countries — also revealed slowing in the accumulation of MS lesions and reduction in the rate of brain atrophy progression.

According to Robert Fox, MD, one of the study’s authors and Vice Chair for Research, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, the results are quite encouraging for patients with secondary progressive MS, a form of the autoimmune disease that has been associated with gradual worsening of symptoms and accumulation of disability.

“We are encouraged by the results from this large clinical trial and are hopeful these findings will help us to develop more therapies for progressive MS,” said Dr. Fox. “Currently, there are no approved therapies for this disabling form of the disease.”

The Phase 3 EXPAND study, funded by Novartis, is the largest randomized, controlled study of progressive MS to date. The findings are published in The Lancet medical journal.

Last year, Dr. Fox reported similar results from a trial he led that tested the effects of the drug ibudilast on patients suffering from primary progressive MS

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