The ECTRIMS (European Committee for Treatment and Research In Multiple Sclerosis) annual conference is the largest annual international conference devoted to basic and clinical research in multiple sclerosis.  The 2016 meeting took place in London from 14-17 September. 

The following is a selection of information presented at the meeting. The first group looks at presentations about drugs for MS, the second looks at no drug topics and a final link includes overviews of the event. 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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Siponimod for secondary progressive MS

A trial of siponimod for people with secondary progressive MS found that the drug improved measures of progression taken every three months and every six months.  The reduction was seen in people who still experienced relapses and in those who did not.

Source: MedPage Today
Source: Pharma Times

MS Trust link: Siponimod

Tysabri and Gilenya comparison study

A study found that a larger proportion of people taking Tysabri (natalizumab) as a second line treatment were relapse free after three years compared to a group taking Gilenya (fingolimod). In the same period, fewer people taking Gilenya showed increases in EDSS scores.

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: MS Decisions - a guide to the disease modifying drugs for relapsing MS

Lemtrada and other disease modifying drugs comparison study

A review looked at almost 4,500 people who were being treated with Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), Gilenya (fingolimod), Rebif, Avonex (both interferon-beta-1a) or Tysabri (natalizumab). The drugs were compared for elapse rate, length of time signs of disability progression, and in measures of functional ability.  People on Lemtrada had fewer relapses than those on fingolimod, but otherwise the drugs were similarly effective. Lemtrada and Tysabri were equally effective on most measures

Source: MedPage Today

MS Trust link: MS Decisions - a guide to the disease modifying drugs for relapsing MS

Zinbryta and disease activity

Almost half of people taking Zinbryta (daclizumab) achieved no evidence of disease activity (NEDA) after 96 weeks compared to a quarter of those taking Avonex.  NEDA was defined as no relapses, no disability progression and no new lesions.

Source: Biogen press release

MS Trust link: Zinbryta (daclizumab)

Aubagio satisfaction scores

In a real world study, satisfaction scores for people taking Aubagio (teriflunomide) were high, particularly in regard of side effects and convenience

Source: Genzyme press release
Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Aubagio (teriflunomide)

Gilenya ten year follow up

A ten year follow us study found that people who had stuck with Gilenya (fingolimod) had lower EDSS scores and a lower risk of developing secondary progressive MS than those who had stopped or interrupted their treatment

Source: Novartis press release

MS Trust link: Gilenya (fingolimod)

Cladribine extension study

A two year extension study found that the effect on the relapse rate was maintained.  There were no new safety issues

Source: Merck press release
Source: Medpage Today

MS Trust link: Cladribine


A small study of an HIV drug found no signs of any effect over six months.  Researchers suggest this may be because the study design was flawed

Source: Medpage Today

MS Trust link: MS research updates

Copaxone and pregnancy

A review of 2,068 pregnancies of women taking Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) found no effects of the drug on birth problems or abnormalities

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)
MS Trust link: Pregnancy


Patient reported outcome measures showed no difference between a group treated with Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) and the placebo people in the first year.  The treatment group got better responses after 120 weeks.  Measures of fatigue did improve

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Ocrevus (ocrelizumab)

European MS Guidance

ECTRIMS and the European Academy of Neurology are developing guidelines on the disease modifying drugs.  These consider characteristics of people with MS, disease severity, drug safety and accessibility, together with the individual's preferences. 

Source: Medpage Today
Source: PharmiWeb

MS Trust link: MS Decisions - a guide to the disease modifying drugs for relapsing MS

Early treatment

Young people with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) who don't take a disease modifying drug are likely to do worse

Source: Neurology Advisor

MS Trust link: Childhood MS

Treatment delay in progressive MS

An analysis of two previous trials suggests that it may take a couple of years before a treatment for progressive MS starts to show benefits.  Trials are usually designed to be shorter than this period and so are likely to have seemed to have failed.

Source: MS News Today

MS Trust link: Progressive MS

Stem cell therapy

An analysis of 15 trials found that after two years, 83% of participants, who had active MS at the start of trials, achieved NEDA (no evidence of disease activity).  After five years this was still 63%.  No deaths were seen in anyone treated after 2008 (the rate had been 3% before that).

Source: Medpage Today
Source: Neurology Today

MS Trust link: Stem cell therapy

Weight and lipid levels

Maintaining or restoring a healthy body weight and lipid measures seems to have a positive effect on MS disease course

Source: Neurology Advisor

MS Trust link: MS research updates

Vitamin D

Australian research found that sun exposure and vitamin D levels had a role in protecting against onset of MS, but seemed to have no significant effect once people had the condition

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Vitamin D

Exercise and fatigue

Research found that that 'intense' exercise had no effect on measures of fatigue

Source: Neurology Today

MS Trust link: Exercise
MS Trust link: Fatigue

Different points of view

Researchers asked 208 people with MS and 176 neurologists the same questions about MS - the former answering for themselves, the latter answering how they thought their patients would answer.  Neurologists were more pessimistic about MS and saw motor symptoms as the most disabling. People with MS said that it was fatigue.

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Making the most of appointments

Lipoic acid

A study found that people with MS taking lipoic acid showed slow loss of brain tissue than a placebo group over two years

Source: Neurology Today
Source: MS News Today

MS Trust link: MS research updates


A study of the Danish health registry records found people with MS had lower rates of cerebrovascular disease (stroke, some types of dementia), some cancers and lung diseases - though none of the findings reached statistical significance

Source: MS News Today

MS Trust link: Research into MS and other health conditions (news item - January 2015)

Vitamin D and smoking

A study found that both low vitamin D levels and being a smoker raised the risk of someone with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) being diagnosed with MS.  Data on the combined risk of these factors was less clear

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Vitamin D
MS Trust link: Smoking

Modelling progressive MS

An international study found that monitoring EDSS scores of people with primary progressive MS allowed them to identify in three out of four cases how quickly someone's MS would progress

Source: MS News Today

MS Trust link: Primary progressive MS

General round ups of ECTRIMS

Several news sites have written reviews of ECTRIMS or have gathered together their coverage.

Source: MS International Federation
Source: MS News Today
Source: Neurology Advisor


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