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      Alemtuzumab in the treatment of multiple sclerosis: patient selection and special considerations

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          Abstract

          Multiple sclerosis (MS) is among the most common chronic inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system. Although not curable, the constantly increasing armamentarium of disease-modifying drugs now allows control of disease activity in many patients. The humanized monoclonal antibody alemtuzumab is a powerful drug licensed for the treatment of MS. Upon binding to the CD52 surface protein on CD4 + and CD8 + T cells, B cells, and monocytes, circulating CD52 + cells are eliminated via antibody- and complement-mediated lysis, and a less autoreactive adaptive immune system is reconstituted. The efficacy of alemtuzumab in terms of both clinical and magnetic resonance imaging outcomes has been demonstrated in several phase II/III trials including long-term extensions and follow-up studies. Treatment response to alemtuzumab is strongest as long as active inflammation is the predominant pathophysiological feature, and it is becoming less efficacious in neurodegeneration-dominated later stages of the disease. Thus, the optimal placement of alemtuzumab within treatment algorithms of MS is crucial. The impressive efficacy of alemtuzumab is counteracted by a less favorable safety profile. Besides usually manageable infusion-associated side effects, development of secondary autoimmunity in almost half of treated patients is the most disconcerting risk of alemtuzumab. The high frequency, the delayed occurrence, and the potentially severe course of secondary autoimmune diseases require awareness and a close long-term monitoring of patients treated with alemtuzumab. Biomarkers that would allow prediction of treatment response to alemtuzumab on the one hand and identification of patients at risk for the development of secondary autoimmune diseases on the other are not yet available. Thus, the overall success of alemtuzumab treatment critically depends on the patient selection. The aim of this article is therefore, to characterize the significance of alemtuzumab in the treatment of MS with a focus on the selection of the optimal patient.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Alemtuzumab vs. interferon beta-1a in early multiple sclerosis.

           ,  Kim Norris,  J Coles (2008)
          Alemtuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets CD52 on lymphocytes and monocytes, may be an effective treatment for early multiple sclerosis. In this phase 2, randomized, blinded trial involving previously untreated, early, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, we assigned 334 patients with scores of 3.0 or less on the Expanded Disability Status Scale and a disease duration of 3 years or less to receive either subcutaneous interferon beta-1a (at a dose of 44 microg) three times per week or annual intravenous cycles of alemtuzumab (at a dose of either 12 mg or 24 mg per day) for 36 months. In September 2005, alemtuzumab therapy was suspended after immune thrombocytopenic purpura developed in three patients, one of whom died. Treatment with interferon beta-1a continued throughout the study. Alemtuzumab significantly reduced the rate of sustained accumulation of disability, as compared with interferon beta-1a (9.0% vs. 26.2%; hazard ratio, 0.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16 to 0.54; P<0.001) and the annualized rate of relapse (0.10 vs. 0.36; hazard ratio, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.41; P<0.001). The mean disability score on a 10-point scale improved by 0.39 point in the alemtuzumab group and worsened by 0.38 point in the interferon beta-1a group (P<0.001). In the alemtuzumab group, the lesion burden (as seen on T(2)-weighted magnetic resonance imaging) was reduced, as compared with that in the interferon beta-1a group (P=0.005). From month 12 to month 36, brain volume (as seen on T(1)-weighted magnetic resonance imaging) increased in the alemtuzumab group but decreased in the interferon beta-1a group (P=0.02). Adverse events in the alemtuzumab group, as compared with the interferon beta-1a group, included autoimmunity (thyroid disorders [23% vs. 3%] and immune thrombocytopenic purpura [3% vs. 1%]) and infections (66% vs. 47%). There were no significant differences in outcomes between the 12-mg dose and the 24-mg dose of alemtuzumab. In patients with early, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, alemtuzumab was more effective than interferon beta-1a but was associated with autoimmunity, most seriously manifesting as immune thrombocytopenic purpura. The study was not powered to identify uncommon adverse events. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00050778.) 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            The window of therapeutic opportunity in multiple sclerosis: evidence from monoclonal antibody therapy.

            From 1991-2002, we treated 58 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) using the humanised monoclonal antibody, Campath-1H, which causes prolonged T lymphocyte depletion. Clinical and surrogate markers of inflammation were suppressed. In both the relapsing-remitting (RR) and secondary progressive (SP) stages of the illness, Campath-1H reduced the annual relapse rate (from 2.2 to 0.19 and from 0.7 to 0.001 respectively; both p < 0.001). Remarkably, MRI scans of patients with SP disease, treated with Campath-1H 7 years previously, showed no new lesion formation. However, despite these effects on inflammation, disability was differently affected depending on the phase of the disease. Patients with SPMS showed sustained accumulation of disability due to uncontrolled progression marked by unrelenting cerebral atrophy, attributable to ongoing axonal loss. The rate of cerebral atrophy was greatest in patients with established cerebral atrophy and highest inflammatory lesion burden before treatment (2.3 versus 0.7 ml/year; p = 0.04). In contrast, patients with RR disease showed an impressive reduction in disability at 6 months after Campath-1H (by a mean of 1.2 EDSS points) perhaps owing to a suppression of on-going inflammation in these patients with unusually active disease. In addition, there was a further significant, albeit smaller, mean improvement in disability up to 36 months after treatment. We speculate that this represents the beneficial effects of early rescue of neurons and axons from a toxic inflammatory environment, and that prevention of demyelination will prevent long-term axonal degeneration. These concepts are currently being tested in a controlled trial comparing Campath-1H and IFN-beta in the treatment of drug-naïve patients with early, active RR MS.
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              B cells and antibodies in multiple sclerosis pathogenesis and therapy.

              B cells and antibodies account for the most prominent immunodiagnostic feature in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), namely oligoclonal bands. Furthermore, evidence is accumulating that B cells and antibodies contribute to MS pathogenesis in at least a subset of patients. The CNS provides a B-cell-fostering environment that includes B-cell trophic factors such as BAFF (B-cell-activating factor of the TNF family), APRIL (a proliferation-inducing ligand), and the plasma-cell survival factor CXCL12. Owing to this environment, the CNS of patients with MS is not only the target of the immunopathological process, but also becomes the site of local antibody production. B cells can increase or dampen CNS inflammation, but their proinflammatory effects seem to be more prominent in most patients, as B-cell depletion is a promising therapeutic strategy. Other therapies not primarily designed to target B cells have numerous effects on the B-cell compartment. This Review summarizes key features of B-cell biology, the role of B cells and antibodies in CNS inflammation, and current attempts to identify the targets of pathogenic antibodies in MS. We also review the effects of approved and investigational interventions-including CD20-depleting antibodies, BAFF/APRIL-depleting agents, alemtuzumab, natalizumab, FTY720, IFN-β, glatiramer acetate, steroids and plasma exchange-on B-cell immunology.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2016
                18 October 2016
                : 10
                : 3379-3386
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Multiple Sclerosis Center, Neurology Department, Klinik Hennigsdorf, Hennigsdorf
                [2 ]NeuroCure Clinical Research Center, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jan Dörr, NeuroCure Clinical Research Center, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany, Tel +49 3302 545 4729, Email jan-markus.doerr@ 123456charite.de
                Article
                dddt-10-3379
                10.2147/DDDT.S97956
                5076850
                © 2016 Dörr and Baum. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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