MS: Promising therapies take new approaches

October 9, 2006

We know that about 400,000 people in the United States currently suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), and it's more common in women and Caucasians. We also know that early treatment of the condition makes a difference. Recently, we've read that Biogen Idec and Elan Corp. were given the go-ahead to reintroduce natalizu-mab (Tysabri) for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS. But beyond that, we haven't heard too much lately regarding the treatment of this devastating disease. What, if anything, coming down the pipeline looks promising? Here are a few of the possibilities.

NeuroVax, administered by intramuscular injection, contains a combination of three T-cell receptor (TCR) peptides that represent immunogenic regions from TCRs that are expressed by the pathogenic T-cells in MS patients. The three peptides are BV5S2, BV6S5, and BV13S1. The firm has also developed a stable formulation of these three peptides (Incomplete Freund's Adjuvant) that, when injected, elicited a strong immune response in over 90% of the MS patients who received it. These responses to peptides are important, since clinical data show a correlation between the strength of T-cell response to TCR therapy and clinical benefit after one year of therapy.