, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 676-692

Emerging therapies for multiple sclerosis

Summary

This review examines the mode of action, safety profile and clinical efficacy of some of the most promising new therapeutic strategies for multiple sclerosis. Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation can regenerate a new and tolerant immune system and is a potentially effective rescue therapy in a subset of patients with aggressive forms of MS refractory to approved immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive agents. High-dose cyclophosphamide without stem cell support is suggested to induce prolonged remissions through similar immunological mechanisms with less toxicity. Fingolimod (FTY720) is a novel oral immunomodulating agent that acts through preventing lymphocyte recirculation from lymphoid organs. Monoclonal antibody therapy has provided scientists and clinicians the opportunity to rationally direct the therapeutic intervention against specific molecules. Targeting molecules of the immune system such as CD52 (alemtuzumab), CD25 (daclizumab), VLA-4 (natalizumab) and CD20 (rituximab) have resulted in potent immunomodulatory effects through sometimes unpredicted mechanisms. The potential of immunoglobulins to induce remyelination in the CNS is being investigated in an attempt to develop therapies promoting tissue repair and functional recovery. The evidence supporting the potential of these emerging immunotherapies suggests that strong progress is being made in the development of effective cures for multiple sclerosis.