Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Evaluation of patients treated with natalizumab finds no new cases of PML

02.03.2006


An independent clinical and laboratory study of more than 3000 people treated with the drug natalizumab (Tysabri®) for multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis has found no evidence of new cases of the often-fatal disorder called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The laboratory component of the study was coordinated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), working in conjunction with the NIH Clinical Center. Clinical and neuroradiological experts from other institutions also participated. Results of the study will be published in the March 2, 2006, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.*



Natalizumab, an immune system-modifying drug, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2004 to treat relapsing-remitting MS. Studies have shown that it can substantially reduce the frequency of relapses in that disease. However, the drug was withdrawn from the market and from clinical trials in February 2005 after the manufacturer identified 2 cases of PML in MS patients who had received the drug. A person with Crohn’s disease who had received natalizumab was also diagnosed with PML. The current study was conducted to determine whether other people treated with natalizumab were at risk of PML. Symptoms of PML include mental deterioration, problems with vision, speech, balance, and movement, and, in most cases, coma and death.

"This was an important opportunity for NIH to use its specialized expertise in cooperation with the private sector to address a pressing and unanticipated risk of a devastating disorder," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.


"This study was designed to address a critical, immediate need for patient safety in the people who participated in clinical trials of this drug," says Eugene Major, Ph.D., of NINDS. "We had to assess who else might be at risk." Dr. Major served as the chair of the independent adjudication committee (IAC) that was established to evaluate the risk of PML in natalizumab-treated patients after it was withdrawn from the market. He is chief of the NINDS’ Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience and an expert on the virus (known as JC virus) that causes PML. Other members of the IAC were neurologist David B. Clifford, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and neuroradiologist Tarek Yousry, M.D., of the Institute of Neurology, Queens Square in London, U.K.

While the study did not find any evidence for new cases of PML, the researchers cannot say for certain that the patients who received natalizumab will not develop the disease in the future, Dr. Major cautions. The risk associated with longer-term treatment with natalizumab is also unknown.

Most people in the world are exposed to JC virus during childhood, and antibodies to the virus are detectable throughout life. However, the initial infection usually does not cause noticeable symptoms. PML is extremely rare and, when it occurs, it is almost always in people whose immune systems are compromised.

The researchers invited patients who had received natalizumab in clinical trials for MS, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis to take part in the evaluation. A total of 3,116 patients exposed to natalizumab participated. They underwent a detailed clinical history, physical examination, and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Some patients’ cerebrospinal fluid was tested for JC virus DNA. The IAC reviewed the clinical information and MRIs of patients who were identified as having signs of possible PML. Dr. Major’s research team at NINDS, in conjunction with the Department of Laboratory Medicine at NIH, analyzed the cerebrospinal fluid samples for JC virus DNA. The manufacturers of natalizumab, Biogen Idec and Elan Pharmaceuticals, provided support for the clinical procedures and MRIs. The companies also provided some reagents and supplies for laboratory testing.

A total of 44 patients were referred to the IAC because of clinical findings of possible PML, abnormalities on MRI, or a high blood level of JC virus. None of them had detectable JC virus DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid. Only the three previously reported cases of PML were confirmed. The data suggested that the risk of PML associated with natalizumab was approximately 1 in 1000 among these patients, who had been treated with natalizumab for an average of 17.9 months.

The study did not formally include patients who were treated with natalizumab outside of clinical trials. However, since PML is a very severe disease, it is likely that any PML in other patients who received natalizumab would have been diagnosed, the researchers say.

The results of this study are important not only for natalizumab, but also for similar drugs that are now in development, says Dr. Major. "Even under close evaluation, PML remains a rare disease. But as we alter the immune system, we need to understand what unintended effects it might have. This experience tells us that we need to understand more about how the JC virus causes disease in order to find ways to intervene." In the future, it might be possible to monitor people given natalizumab and similar drugs for activation of the JC virus in order to prevent PML, he adds.

Natalie Frazin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>