A small phase 1 study has developed a new immunotherapy targeting cells infected with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) succeeded in halting the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). That’s not all, there is something more surprising. In some patients, the therapy was even said to have succeeded in obtaining a remission of symptoms, although this does not seem to be fully confirmed in the presentation of the most recent results. I attach a PDF document, the report was published in IFL Science.
The Great Hunt for Multiple Sclerosis
In recent months, the multiplication of research on this disease has led to a turning point. Several studies have established a correlation between infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and the possible development of multiple sclerosis.
Atara Biotherapeutics has attempted to translate these findings into a therapeutic approach to improve disease treatment. And he developed an immunotherapy based on T cells and the call ATA188.
How does multiple sclerosis immunotherapy work?
The idea is simple. When cells infected with EBV have small surface proteins called antigens, immunotherapy feeds and stimulates immune cells, which attack and destroy them.
In a study at 24 patients who have undergone therapy 20 saw an improvement or disappearance of symptoms. However, no fatal or serious side effects have been reported.
Some early brain scans show therapy may even have “remyelinated” nerve cells, suggesting a reversal of nerve damage caused by multiple sclerosis. However, as already mentioned, further confirmation of this hypothesis is needed.
Here too it must be said: the results are extremely promising. However, this is a first phase 1 study with a relatively small sample (24 patients) and without a placebo or control group. It should be taken with caution.
Of course, it must be said that this repair is unlikely to occur naturally, so there is very good hope that the therapy will have some really important effects and we will know more in the next phases of the study.