The 31st Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) conference, held October 7 through October 10, 2015, in Barcelona, Spain, featured presentations on personalized therapies, updated clinical trials, risk management, and therapeutic strategies for multiple sclerosis treatments. The treatments are likely to be ones doctors will explore for changing standards of care in upcoming years.
Mark S. Freedman, MD, Professor of Neurology at the University of Ottawa and Clyde Markowitz, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, review the highlights of the conference in the presentation, “Updates in MS Management: Clinical Impact of Data from ECTRIMS 2015,” a CME video for the virtual education summit, NeuroSeries Live.
Biomarker Testing Shows Increased Promise for Treatment Efficacy
Neurologists often face the dilemma of balancing the risks and benefits of aggressive treatment, according to Dr. Freedman. To address developments in risk management, Dr. Markowitz discusses recent data released during the conference that used CD62L as a predictor of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in patients treated with natalizumab.
While testing for CD62L is not widely available, results show promise in the potential development for biomarkers. Dr. Markowitz says the test could help to determine who should take the medication or determine when a patient should stop taking natalizumab. The presenters describe in detail how this can be an effective tool for physicians to help develop MS treatment options.
Experts Weigh the Benefits of MRI as a Predictive Tool
The debate over the validity and usefulness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) continued at the ECTRIMS conference. Dr. Markowitz presents information supporting the MRI’s usefulness as a primary endpoint while Dr. Freedman presents the opposing viewpoint.
At the conference, presenters brought forth research supporting both opinions. Both presenters weighed the pros and cons of MRIs and which patients could benefit the most from the scans.
Medications and a Supplement Show Promise for Future Treatments
Ocrelizumab, biotin and daclizumab are some of the medications and supplements that were discussed as potential therapies for MS management at ECTRIMS 2015. Drs. Markowitz and Freedman discuss the results of the ORATORIO study in primary progressive MS patients treated with ocrelizumab versus placebo treatment.
‘This is the first drug that we have that shows any effect in primary progressive disease,” Dr. Markowitz explains.
While greater degrees of analysis need to be conducted, this study as well as the other medication studies presented, are showing promise that new treatments and treatment approaches are on the horizon for 2016.
To learn more about the latest research on MS management and earn CME credits, watch “Updates in MS Management: Clinical Impact of Data from ECTRIMS 2015” on NeuroSeriesLive.
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