"The story actually goes all the way back to 2015, at ECTRIMS."

Hideki Garren, MD, PhD, sat with NeurologyLive’s sister publication, MD Magazine, at the American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California, to discuss the history of a well-known therapy for multiple sclerosis: ocrelizumab (Ocrevus).

The group medical director of neuroscience at Genentech spoke about the therapy’s beginnings, with the unblinded data presentation of the OPERA trials at the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) annual meeting a few years back. Now, the OPERA trials are presenting additional data at AAN, this time of an open-label extension period.

Now that the patients in the study have been followed for 4 years, including a switch after year 2 from interferon ß-1a to ocrelizumab, the findings have revealed additional information that could aid in better treatment of patients with MS. Garren mentioned the findings showed that those who had been treated with ocrelizumab for the entire 4 years had less disease progression than those who switched to the therapy, highlighting the need to treat patients earlier. He also noted that this data included measurements of cognition for the first time.

Additionally, Garren spoke to the need for a biomarker in MS, and how neurofilament light, or NFL, may be one of the best available, as it has indicated a decline in cognition and disability—and how ocrelizumab reduced its levels.