Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the myelin sheath that protect the central nervous system (CNS). It affects approximately 3 million people worldwide. The disease often progresses until the patient loses mobility, or worse. And there is no cure; only disease modifying drugs with spotty efficacy. I know. I count myself among those 3 million.
But good news emerged this week from an initial study of a new immunotherapy that targets cells infected with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). Not only does the therapy appear to halt progression of an illness that–to date–was unstoppable. In some cases, it actually reversed progression. That’s huge for people who have already progressed to debilitating symptoms.
Of course, this is early days, and MS sufferers have had hopes raised before, but it is potentially a turning point in the fight against MS.
The results of the trial were presented by Atara Biotherapeutics at an EBV and MS day on March 22, 2002.