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New approach resets MS

06.06.2013 - An international research team has found a way to calm the autoimmune reaction that leads to myelin destruction in Multiple Sclerosis patients.

A phase 1 clinical trial for the first treatment to reset the immune system of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients showed the therapy was safe and reduced patients' immune system reactivity to myelin by 50 to 75 percent. In 9 patients, the researchers from Hamburg, Vienna, Zürich, and Chicago succeeded to reduce the autoimme reaction against myelin, which surrounds neurons like an insulator. They did so by coupling 7 myelin antigens thought to induce MS to the patients’ white blood cells ex vivo, which induced immune tolerance after reinjection in their bloodstream. Most of the patients who received high doses of the antigen-coupled blood cells did not show any new brain lesions or symptomatic relapses up to the end of the study’s six month follow-up period (Science Translat. Medicine, 5 May, 2013).

"The therapy stops autoimmune responses that are already activated and prevents the activation of new autoimmune cells," said co-author Stephen Miller from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Our approach leaves the function of the normal immune system intact. That's the holy grail." According to lead author Andreas Lutterotti from Innsbruck Medical University/Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, the dead lymphocytes carrying the myelin antigens are filtered out of the blood in the spleen. During this process, immune cells start to recognise the myelin antigens as harmless and immune tolerance quickly develops. They confirmed this in patients by immune assays.

Although the patient numbers are small in this first-in-human study, the safety, feasibility, and early results suggest that this approach may provide a promising avenue for future trials. Unlike current immunosuppressive drugs for MS, the new approach does not compromise the immune system’s infection-fighting abilities. The process mimics a natural process by which millions of red and white blood cells, which normally die each day, are cleared from the bloodstream without alerting the immune system.  

The human safety study sets the stage for a phase 2 trial to see if the new treatment can prevent the progression of MS in humans. Scientists are currently trying to raise $1.5 million to launch the trial, which has already been approved in Switzerland. The new approach may be useful for treating not only MS but also a host of other autoimmune and allergic diseases simply by switching the antigens attached to the cells.

© eurobiotechnews.eu/tg

http://www.european-biotechnology-news.com/news/news/2013-02/new-approach-resets-ms.html

FinancingUK

23.08.2016 Cambridge University-allied investor Cambridge Innovation Capital has raised £75m (€87m) to reinvest in technology and healthcare companies. Among the backers were Woodford Investment and Winton Ventures.

R&DDenmark

19.08.2016 Together with partner Johnson & Johnson, Danish biotech Genmab is now one step closer to FDA approval with its combination treatment for multiple myeloma after its submission of a supplemental Biologics License Application. In July, Genmab was granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) for its blood cancer therapy.

ResearchUKEU

17.08.2016 Philip Hammond, the UK’S chancellor has announced the government will guarantee funding for EU-backed "structural and investment fund" projects whose timelines extend beyond the UK’s departure from the EU, provided the projects are signed prior to this year's Autumn Statement on the UK budget. The decision ensures continued funding for farmers, companies and institutions involved in the EU’s Horizon 2020 project. The move could cost the UK government up to £6bn (€6.9bn).

Stock marketsGermany

15.08.2016 Back in April, the American FDA gave the green light for the colorectal cancer-screening test Epi procolon. Now Berlin-based diagnostics specialist Epigenomics is considering a secondary listing in the US. A draft of the required registration document was confidentially submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

LicensingDenmark

11.08.2016 Danish Genmab AS has granted Gilead Sciences license to use its DuoBody technology platform to develop bispecific antibodies for the treatment of HIV. The deal is worth up to €252m.

Clinical developmentHungaryIreland

09.08.2016 Hungarian Gedeon Richter and Irish Allergan are staying on course in the face of dissappointing Phase III results for depression drug cariprazine. The partners will now begin another Phase III study needed for approval.

ImmunotherapySpain

08.08.2016 Araclon Biotech’s Alzheimer’s vaccine ABvac40 is going forward into Phase II after showing a good safety profile in Phase I. The promising trial results were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

ApprovalEU

04.08.2016 After a two-year pilot period, the EMA has published its report on its adaptive pathways approach. The agency plans to “explore the concept further” and will continue to accept proposals.

BusinessPolandUK

01.08.2016 Life science venture capital group Epidarex has launched Nodthera Ltd, a biotech based on research by Poland-based drug discovery company Selvita. The start-up aims to develop novel inhibitors of the NLRP3 inflammasome.

R&DUKIreland

29.07.2016 GlaxoSmithKline has in-licensed Janssen’s anti-IL-33R monoclonal antibody for severe asthma. The British drugmaker is paying €208m up front for the mAb.

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