TagRituximab

the HYPE study

It is clear that many MSers on continuous anti-CD20 therapy are concerned about the risk of developing hypogammaglobulinaemia and subsequent infections. Yesterday, I spoke to several neurologists at the O’HAND investigators meeting in Barcelona who informed me that they are considering giving their ocrelizumab-treated patients hyperimmune globulin replacement therapy (HYPE-Ig-RT) when they...

Who said anti-CD20 therapies were safe?

When I highlighted the risk of hypogammaglobulinaemia and infection in MSers receiving anti-CD20 therapy after ECTRIMS I go a very long email from someone from Roche playing down the risks. The following study is therefore very timely and shows that when comparing interferon-beta, glatiramer acetate, natalizumab, fingolimod and rituximab with each other it is rituximab that comes out worst in...

JCV index and the effect of DMTs

JCV STRATIFY (anti-JCV antibody) test has been utilized for more than decade to de-risk natalizumab treatment and other DMTs for risk of PML (Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy). Cases of PML have occurred predominantly in natalizumab, but less commonly with fingolimod (Gilenya), dimethylfumerate (Tecfidera) and rituximab. A high JCV antibody index value indicates that the risk of...

Derisking anti-CD20 therapy

An important highlight of ECTRIMS this year was the data on the safety of the anti-CD20 therapies as a class. It is clear that prolonged, and sustained, B-cell depletion is not safe. Hypogammaglobulinaemia will become a problem with the risk of both common and opportunistic infections.  Stephen Hauser presented the 7-year ocrelizumab safety data and there is a clear uptick in infections in...

Taking flak for off-label prescribing

I was still wet behind the ears, in my 3-year as a neurology registrar in Johannesburg, when I first used an off-label DMT in MS. I manage to convince Vivian Fritz, my professor of neurology, to allow us to treat one of her patients with MS with mitoxantrone. This was shortly after the first case series had emerged from Germany. The patient concerned was a young woman with malignant MS who had...

Why is everyone drinking anti-CD20 kool-aid?

Prof G will ocrelizumab and rituximab prevent SPMS? Just back from the COMBAT-MS stakeholders meeting in Pasadena with the Kaiser (Kaiser Foundation Research Institute) and Swedish (Karolinska Institute) trial teams, PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) and many brave an wonderful people with MS and their families. The COMBAT-MS study (NCT03193866) is recruiting well and is on...

COMBAT-MS: have your say

What are the most important outstanding research questions for people with MS? Depending on how long you have been following this blog you may or may not be aware of the COMBAT-MS study. This is a study that is funded by the US government as part of  the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). COMBAT-MS is a US-Swedish initiative for a hybrid study between a traditional...

ADIOS

Yes, why can’t we use anti-CD20 therapies as an immune constitution therapy (IRT) or at least adapt the dose based on B-cell reconstitution kinetics? And if we can’t beat the Swedes why can’t we join them? ADIOS = ADaptIve Ocrelizumab dosing Study There is mounting evidence from NMO and rheumatology that anti-CD20 therapies can be used as either a maintenance therapy or an immune...

To vaccinate or not?

Should your vaccine status be checked and updated before you start treatment? As part of our programme to derisk disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for pwMS in our service, we are reviewing our vaccination policy. One issue that has emerged is the possible need to boost immunity to certain types of bacteria that are known to pose a risk in patients on long-term immunosuppression, in particular B...

To B or not to B

Is targeting the B-cell sufficient to get on top of MS or do we need something extra? I spoke at the MS Nurses’ MS@TheLimits2019 meeting at the Royal College of Physicians yesterday. My brief was to cover the role of B-cells in the pathogenesis of MS and to review the converging evidence that supports B-cells being the central player in the pathogenesis of MS. It is clear that depleting B...

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