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ECTRIMS 2015 round up

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ECTRIMS (European Committee for Treatment and Research In Multiple Sclerosis) hosts the world's largest conference devoted to basic and clinical research in MS.

This year's meeting took place in Barcelona from 7-10 October and featured a wide range of presentations, posters and reports of new and ongoing research.

Below are brief reviews of some of the research reported.

Ocrelizumab

As previously reported the results presented from several trials showed that ocrelizumab has benefits in both people with relapsing remitting MS and primary progressive MS.

Daclizumab

Analysis of the results from an earlier study found that more people with relapsing remitting MS taking daclizumab had no evidence of disease activity (NEDA) than participants taking Avonex. They also had a reduced risk of confirmed disability progression as well as improvements in cognitive processing speed.

Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab)

Results of a five year follow-up of over 600 people who took part in large scale Lemtrada clinical trials were presented and showed that Lemtrada remained effective. 

Two thirds of participants didn't have further treatment with Lemtrada beyond the first two courses. The study showed that people treated with Lemtrada continued to have few relapses, about four in five showed no sustained disability progression and a little more than a third of those who had disability before the trials showed improvements. Participants also showed a slowing of brain volume loss to levels that were similar to the general population.

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)

Analysis of the results from earlier studies as well as follow up of the study participants were presented. Treatment with Tecfidera reduced inflammatory disease activity such as lesions seen on brain scans, with 21% of those taking Tecfidera free of disease activity after 96 weeks, compared to 16% of participants taking Copaxone.

It was also shown that that for people newly diagnosed with MS those treated with Tecfidera had significantly fewer relapses (reduced by 63%) when compared to those taking placebo and it also delayed disability progression.

Cognition and vitamin D

A study of 88 people found that taking vitamin D supplements improved cognition. People with low vitamin D levels were given high doses of vitamin D (10,000 IU daily) for three months. People with normal levels of vitamin D were not given supplements. After three months scores on test of cognition had improved for those taking vitamin D supplements. Researchers suggest that this demonstrates people with MS should get their vitamin D levels checked and, if deficient, take vitamin D supplements to normalise these.

Cognition as an early symptom of MS

New research presented suggests that MS may start several years prior to people experiencing clinical symptoms, and that cognitive impairment – that is, problems with thinking, memory or planning – could be an early sign.

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