While there have been a number of success stories for MS research in 2013, last year saw yet another round of therapies aimed at treating Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis rejected by the FDA, mainly on the grounds that the current experimental drugs for the disease feature too many side effects and not enough efficacy. In the case of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, there were even fewer achievements in the realm of drug development. However, one novel drug for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis continues to be tested in Europe, offering new hope for treating the disease, particularly in its most progressive forms.
Masitinib, an experimental drug therapy developed by AB Science in France, is currently recruiting for its Phase 2b/3 testing phase, after presenting positive results from its previous clinical trial phase, which completed in 2011. The clinical trial puts Masitinib up against a placebo for the treatment of both Primary Progressive and Relapse-Free Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, in order to ascertain the drug’s safety in patients and efficacy in curtailing the progression of the disease. The program of the clinical trial is a rigorous 96-Week, Prospective, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled study, featuring two Parallel-groups for a dose of Masitinib 6 mg/kg/Day versus the placebo.
Read about symptoms and treatments for Secondary Progressive MS.
The study, which officially began in August of 2011 and is expected to conclude in December of 2014 with an official study completion date of December, 2015, and seeks to enroll and test 450 participants. The end goal of the study is a quality of life test, and will use tests such as a timed 25-foot walk and nine-hole peg test to determine effectiveness against side effects.
What makes this study particularly encouraging is that it seeks to help further test and develop Masitinib as a therapy for primary progressive or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis patients. To date, while there are several semi-viable treatment options for Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, there are no truly viable primary or secondary progressive MS therapies. Doctors typically prescribe interferon or disease modifying drugs as a last resort for MS patients who have progressed further into the disease, though this treatments are typically only effective with Relapsing-Remitting MS. Thus, if Masitinib is proven to be effective, it could offer a much-needed therapy for progressive MS.
Unfortunately for those in the United states, Masitinib is not currently being tested, as the clinical trials are underway in Spain only, according to the clinicaltrials.gov website.
However, Texas-based Opexa Therapeutics is currently looking for participants with secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis for testing of its investigational Tcelna therapy. Unlike most other MS treatments, Tcelna uses a participant’s own T-cells to battle the disease. Preliminary studies have shown promise as a secondary progressive MS therapy. Opexa is offering test sites throughout the United States.