2015 was a big year for MS news and research advancements beginning with the launch of** iConquerMS™** - the largest patient-governed, patient-powered research network in the world focusing exclusively on multiple sclerosis research that matters most to MS patients. Learn how you can participate at iConquerMS.org.
In April, the FDA approved Glatopa™ (glatiramer acetate injection) - the first generic version of the MS disease-modifying therapy Copaxone® 20mg - for patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Additional generic versions are expected to be available soon.
During the ECTRIMS conference in Barcelona, Genentech reported positive results from three phase 3 trials of ocrelizumab - a monoclonal antibody therapy that targets CD20+ B-cells - in relapsing forms of MS and** primary progressive MS** (PPMS). If approved by the FDA, ocrelizumab could be the first effective treatment for PPMS.
A groundbreaking discovery was made by researchers at the University of Virginia when they found evidence of a network of “lymphatic vessels” connecting the immune system directly to the central nervous system. Further research is needed however to understand how and whether lymphatic vessels play a role in MS, and whether they present new opportunities for stopping MS disease activity.
The FDA issued warnings for patients taking Gilenya™ (fingolimod) - a daily oral drug prescribed for patients with relapsing forms of MS. Five patients taking Gilenya™ have developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) - a potentially deadly brain infection resulting from the reactivation of the JC Virus. Patients with prior exposure to immunosuppressant drugs carry an increased risk of developing PML; however, two of these patients who developed PML had no such exposure.
Top Posts of 2015
At HealthCentral.com, we strive to provide you with the information, tools, and support you need to live well with MS. Here are a dozen of our most popular posts from 2015:
- 9 Things to Know When Your Partner Has MS
- 10 Lessons I’ve Learned Since Being Diagnosed with MS
- Top 10 Things to Tell Your Doctor If You Have MS
- 3 Things My Doctor Got Right
- Handling a Bad Day, as a Caregiver
- Top 50 Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
- Five Hidden Symptoms of MS
- MS Signs & Symptoms: Numbness
- MS Signs & Symptoms: What is Nystagmus?
- Five Ways to Get Involved in the MS Community
- Five Ways to Get the Most Out of Your MS Medication
- 7 Assistance Programs MS Patients Need to Know
Looking forward to 2016
As we move into the new year, I am excited to see where innovation takes us with new treatments on the horizon, major advancements in the understanding of progressive MS, and an increased focus on well-being in multiple sclerosis research.
With the 2016 Consortium of MS Centers Annual Meeting taking place here in Washington, DC, at the National Harbor (June 1-4, 2016), I anticipate bringing you news of all the latest advancements in multiple sclerosis.
Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
Lisa Emrich is a patient advocate, accomplished speaker, author of the award-winning blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA, and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers. Lisa uses her experience to educate patients, raise disease awareness, encourage self-advocacy, and support patient-centered research. Lisa frequently works with non-profit organizations and has brought the patient voice to health care conferences and meetings worldwide. Follow Lisa on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.