There are currently no approved disease-modifying therapies to treat progressive MS, but results from a recent Phase III trial may begin to change that.

In late September, Genentech (a member of the Roche Group) announced the eagerly awaited results of the OROTARIO trial of Ocrelizumab in primary progressive MS. This trial was led by Professor Xavier Montalban, the new chair of MSIF’s International Medical & Scientific Advisory Board.

At the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ECTRIMS) congress, data was shared showing that, compared to placebo, ocrelizumab significantly reduced the risk of progression of clinical disability by 24%, and over 120 weeks it also reduced the time required to walk 25 feet by 29%, decreased the volume of brain lesions by 3.4%, and reduced the rate of whole brain volume loss by 17.5%.

While this impact against progression was modest, this is the first large-scale clinical trial to show positive results in people with primary progressive MS.

“The results of the ocrelizumab trial in people with primary progressive MS are an encouraging development in the search for effective treatments for this disabling form of MS,” said Professor Alan Thompson, Chair of the International Progressive MS Alliance Scientific Steering Committee. “While the reported effects on progression are modest, the data clearly indicate that this treatment has potential benefit and is not only a source of hope, but also an important milestone that will further inform development for effective treatments for everyone with progressive forms of MS.”

The Progressive MS Alliance, of which MSIF is a managing member, will continue to monitor all potential areas of progress and increased understanding in order to accelerate the development of treatment for people with progressive MS.