A medication called Ocrevus offers new hope to patients living with multiple sclerosis (MS). KentuckyOne Health neurologist Cary Twyman, MD, is a key player in research for the new therapy.
Until the early 1990s, patients living with MS didn’t have many options to manage the neurological disease that slowly chips away at life. Impacting the central nervous system, specifically the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord, MS depletes the protective myelin sheath surrounding these vital structures. This makes it difficult for the brain to send messages to the rest of the body.
As a result, patients with MS can experience unpredictable and often devastating symptoms, including chronic pain, difficulty moving, fatigue, numbness, tingling and loss of vision.
The past 24 years have seen an increase of therapies to slow the progression of MS. However, there is still no cure for the disease. And until March 2017, there were virtually no options to manage the condition’s primary progressive stages, which are marked by a steady worsening of the disease and function of the body.
The Anatomy of an Answer
A new drug recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the first of its kind for patients living with advanced MS. Ocrelizumab, which is sold on the market as Ocrevus, reduces the number of a certain type of cell that may damage nervous system tissues in patients with MS.
“Ocrevus is one of many precision medications coming down the pike and is currently the best option to slow progression of advanced MS,” said Dr. Twyman, who is medical director of KentuckyOne Health Multiple Sclerosis Care in Lexington. “As we continue to expand choices that effectively and safely treat MS in its various stages, the world will be a better place for patients in the future.”
Dr. Twyman was closely involved in the clinical research of Ocrevus, which was tested in three trials, including one specifically for patients with advanced MS. As clinical trials for a precision medication, these focused on improving medication delivery for the best outcome for individual patients.
Patients and families living with multiple sclerosis can find the comprehensive care that they need at KentuckyOne Health Multiple Sclerosis Care. This center is specifically designed to enhance quality of life by offering a robust spectrum of services, including medication management, occupational, physical and speech therapies, social work services, and research trial information and enrollment support. Call 844.739.2997 for more information.
This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.