This treatment is being developed for both relapsing and primary progressive MS. This research is notable for being the first large scale study to report a reduction in disability progression in primary progressive MS. 160 of the 487 people in the ocrelizumab group had confirmed progression at 12 weeks, compared to 96 of the 244 people in the placebo group. In relapsing remitting MS, ocrelizumab reduced the number of relapses by 50% compared to interferon beta 1a (Rebif).
Ocrelizumab is still awaiting a licence. If it is licensed it will then need to be appraised by NICE and the SMC before being available on the NHS. The MS Trust will contribute to the appraisal processes.
Pam Macfarlane, Chief Executive of the MS Trust commented:
This is very encouraging news for people with PPMS. There has never been a positive result in a phase III trial of this kind and it is cause for greater hope that there is a treatment that could have an effect on disability. We look forward to hearing more detail about the trial and whether the positive effects on disability can be sustained over the longer term.