Experimental Drug for Neuromyelitis Optica Performs Well in Clinical Trial
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Experimental Drug for Neuromyelitis Optica Performs Well in Clinical Trial

According to a story from Global Genes, the drug developer Viela Bio recently issued a presentation of the results from a clinical trial that tested the company’s investigational product candidate inebilizumab as a treatment for neuromyelitis optica, a rare disorder that affects the nervous system. The results were made public at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting this year. The findings indicate that the drug could be an effective treatment for the disease.

About Neuromyelits Optica Spectrum Disorders

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) is a term meant to include both neuromyelitis optica patients and those that lack the APQ4 auto antibody but still present similarly otherwise. This disorder is also known as Devic’s disease. It is characterized by inflammation of the optic nerve and spinal cord along with destruction of the myelin sheath, an insulating, protective layer surrounding nerve cells. It is considered an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly begins attacking parts of the body. It is frequently associated with other diseases, such as viral infection and antiMOG associated encephalomyelitis, the latter of which can be a direct cause in some cases. Symptoms include blindness, urinary incontinence, spastic paralysis of the legs and arms, reduced sensation, and overall muscle weakness. Symptoms can be treated, but many patients are left with a degree of impairment. To learn more about neuromyelitis optica, click here.

Study Findings

The study was the largest placebo controlled study focused on neuromyelitis optica. The initial follow up period of the trial for patients was 28 weeks and the trial included a total of 231 patients with the disease. The primary endpoint was reducing the chance of a neuromyelitis optica attack. Inebilizumab, which is an anti-CD19 monoclonal antibody, was able to reduce the risk of an attack by 77 percent in patients that were positive for the AQP4-IgG antibody, a critical biomarker for the disease in some patients. In patients without this biomarker, risk of attack was reduced by 73 percent.

There was a low rate of adverse events, which were comparable to placebo, indicating good safety and tolerability. With the reduced risk of attacks, the drug had a favorable impact on the appearance of new nervous system lesions, hospitalization rates, and patient disability.