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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

Industry reportGermany

27.04.2016 More revenue, more jobs, more financing, more R&D expenditure – all signs point towards sustainable growth in the German biotech sector. These are the results of the most recent company survey 2016, published by biotechnologie.de. The report was once again conducted alongside the biotech standards defined by the organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD).

Clinical ResearchFrancePortugal

21.04.2016 An expert panel’s final report on the fatal drug trial earlier this year in France states that the death of one of the participants was most likely caused by the drug’s toxicity and not by any violation of the rules.

Immuno-oncologyNetherlandsBelgium

21.04.2016 For up to US$685m (€606m), Dutch ArgenX has outlicensed its human antibody programme ARGX-115 to AbbVie. The pre-clinical immuno-oncology candidate targets a protein believed to contribute to immunosuppressive effects of T-cells.

RegulatorySwitzerlandEU

20.04.2016 The US government is forking out up to US$100m to get Basilea Pharmaceutica’s broad-spectrum antibiotic ceftobiprole on the US market. In the EU, ceftobiprole is already available.

Immuno-oncologyUK

19.04.2016 British drug developer Heptares Therapeutics and mAb maker Kymab Ltd have partnered up in yet another immuno-oncology collaboration. The companies plan to discover antibody meds targeting a superfamily of receptors.

FinancingSwitzerlandFranceEUGermanyDenmark

15.04.2016 Not every company is put off by the current stock market climate. Swiss biopharma company GeNeuro has gone public at Euronext Paris, raising €33m in the process. Others, meanwhile, have to find different ways to raise money.

Event ReviewSwitzerlandBelgiumEU

13.04.2016 Despite political disturbances, 2015 was a good year for the biotech scene in Switzerland. Net sales increased by 5.1% to CHF5,133m and 400 additional people found jobs in the sector. As usual, the new numbers were presented at the annual Swiss Biotech Day – which set new records as well.

FinancingGermanyNetherlandsEU

12.04.2016 German-Dutch life science investment specialist Forbion Capital Partners has raised more than €180m for its venture capital fund Forbion Capital Fund III. Once more the money will primarily go to European start-ups.

Event ReviewGermanyEU

08.04.2016 Do you win by being innovative?, was the question asked at this year’s DIA Euromeeting in Hamburg. In a relaxed and cooperative atmosphere, regulators, physicians and patients had ample opportunity to interact with the healthcare industry.

M&AIrelandEU

07.04.2016 Pfizer and Allergan have called off their merger, cancelling plans to relocate the US pharma giant to Ireland to avoid US taxation. The US government has put a spoke in Pfizer’s wheels - an unfair move, Allergan says.

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