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New treatment for MS recommended in Europe

The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) – part of the European Medicines Agency – has recommended a new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). The health regulator has has deemed siponimod (marketed as Mayzent) to be safe and effective for people with ‘active’ secondary progressive MS.

MS is a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance. It’s a lifelong condition.

The new drug, Mayzent, is an immune system-modulating therapy thought to act by retaining certain white blood cells in the body’s lymph nodes, keeping them out of circulation and out of the central nervous system.

In the U.K., National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has begun its appraisal of the drug to decide whether it should be prescribed by the National health Service (NHS) and a decision is expected in mid-2020.

In response to the CHMP’s decision, Genevieve Edwards, Director of External Affairs at the MS Society, told Digital Journal: “This exciting step forward means siponimod could become the first oral disease modifying treatment (DMT) licensed for ‘active’ secondary progressive MS. MS is relentless, painful and disabling and this new drug provides a much needed option for people with this form of the condition. Once licensed, the next challenge is making sure siponimod is available on the NHS to everyone who could benefit.

Edwards adds that: “Because siponimod only works on the immune system it won’t help everyone with secondary progressive MS – just those still experiencing relapses. We can see a future where nobody needs to worry about their MS getting worse, but we need drugs that repair myelin and protect the nerves from damage. Through our Stop MS Appeal, we hope to raise £100 million to find treatments for everyone with MS.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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