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MS in the media - 8 October 2015

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These are links to recent news stories that may be of interest to people in the UK. The link beneath each item will take you to the original story.

Please note that the MS Trust did not write the original items and does not endorse their content nor any claims made in them.

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Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) follow up

Two studies showed Tecfidera reduced relapse rates in people recently diagnosed with MS by 63% compared to placebo.  Another study showed more people free of "inflammatory disease activity" over 96 weeks than people on Copaxone.  Over six years, the relapse rate was similar for those who had been on treatment throughout and those who had switched from placebo after two years, but the build up of disability was lower in the all treatment group. Reported at ECTRIMS

Source: Biogen press release
Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)

Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) five year follow up

Five year follow up data showed people treated during the two pivotal Lemtrada trials continued to show a low relapse rate, about four in five showed no sustain progression, and brain atrophy averaged around the level seen in people who don't have MS.  A little more than a third of those who had disability before the trials showed improvements.  Two thirds of participants didn't have further treatment with Lemtrada beyond the first two courses.  Instances of thyroid related side effects peaked in year three. Reported at ECTRIMS

Source: Genzyme press release
Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Lemtrada (alemtuzumab)

Tysabri (natalizumab) longer dosing

An ongoing US study suggests that relapse rates and new MRI lesions are lower in people receiving Tysabri every eight weeks as opposed to the usual four weekly dose.  There have been fewer cases of PML in the longer dose group (0 v 4), but the numbers involved are too low to make this significant. Reported at ECTRIMS

Source: MedPage Today

MS Trust link: Tysabri (natalizumab)

Gilenya (fingolimod) shows no benefit in primary progressive MS

Brain and spine atrophy were similar in people with primary progressive MS taking either fingolimod or a placebo. Reported at ECTRIMS

Source: Neurology Advisor

MS Trust link: Gilenya (fingolimod)

Vitamin D levels and race

Whilst low vitamin D levels are associated with the risk of developing MS in white people, the same association doesn't hold true of black or Hispanic people (who generally tend to have lower vitamin D levels).  Researchers consider if this might be down to genes in different groups or if vitamin D fluctuation (more apparent in white people) is a marker of some other risk factor. Reported at ECTRIMS

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Possible causes of MS

Sun exposure and low weight delay MS onset

Danish research found that MS developed a few years later in people who had had daily exposure to sunlight (UVB) as teenagers and a lower body mass index at 20

Source: MedPage Today
Source: Science News

MS Trust link: Possible causes of MS

Stem cell communication

Research at Cambridge suggests that damaged nerve cells send out messages to attract stem cells to repair myelin

Source: Cambridge University

MS Trust link: Stem cells