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New Data Show Fingolimod (Gilenya) Helps MS Patients

Treatment improves key measures of disease (June 5)

New data, scheduled to be presented at the 23rd meeting of the European Neurological Society (ENS), show that fingolimod (Gilenya; Novartis) had a positive effect on key measures of multiple sclerosis (MS) — i.e., relapse rates, brain volume loss, lesions, and disability progression. Improving these key measures led to favorable clinical outcomes, according to a recent announcement.

New findings from the TRANSFORMS trial showed that a greater proportion of patients were disease-free after 1 year of treatment with fingolimod compared with interferon (IFN). For patients receiving IFN during the first year, the proportion that was disease-free during the second year increased after the patients were switched from IFN to fingolimod. The findings suggest that switching from IFN to fingolimod may help patients with relapsing MS to achieve and maintain long-term disease-free status.

In a separate analysis, patients with high disease activity who were switched to fingolimod from IFN experienced improved disease measures (i.e., the annualized relapse rate and the reduction in the amount of brain volume loss), regardless of previous treatment.

Gilenya (fingolimod) is the first once-daily oral therapy approved to treat patients with relapsing MS.

It is thought that fingolimod works in two ways against the destructive processes that drive MS disease progression by affecting both the immune system (to reduce inflammatory damage) and the CNS (to promote neuroprotection and repair). Fingolimod is believed to act by preventing lymphocytes (the cells that cause inflammation and damage in the CNS) from leaving lymphoid tissues, thereby reducing their entry into the CNS and the potential for damage. Fingolimod is also able to cross the blood–brain barrier and is thought to act on the neurodegeneration process in the brain and spinal cord.

Source: Novartis; June 5, 2013.

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