Skip to main content Skip to navigation

A to Z of MS

Click on the relevant link for more information on a topic.

A to Z of MS Chemotherapy

Although often associated with the treatment of cancer, several chemotherapy drugs have been investigated as possible treatments for multiple sclerosis. The term chemotherapy generally refers to cytotoxic (cell-killing) drugs. In the treatment of cancer, these drugs are targeted against tumour cells, although other cells are also affected. Their use as a treatment in MS is due to the fact that they also kill white blood cells in the immune system.

MS is considered to be an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath around the nerves of the central nervous system. As chemotherapy drugs reduce the number of white blood cells, it is thought that these drugs may slow down or stop this autoimmune attack.

At present none of these drugs is a first line of treatment for MS and a neurologist may only consider using them once other treatments have been tried.

Chemotherapy drug currently going through the licensing process with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as a treatment for MS.

Chemotherapy drugs that have been used to treat MS

Return to index