Immunological Phenotypes of Multiple Sclerosis and Patient Race


Ahmed Obeidat, MD, PhD, Erin Longbrake, MD, PhD, Stephen Krieger, MD, and Riley Bove, MD, discuss differences in immunologic phenotypes across racial boundaries. They also discuss data showing that, despite these differences, response to high-efficacy agents appears to be consistent regardless of race.

This is a video synopsis/summary of a panel discussion involving Ahmed Obeidat, MD, PhD; Riley Bove, MD; Stephen Krieger, MD; and Erin Longbrake, MD, PhD.

The discussion focuses on potential immunological differences across racial groups and their impact on the response to treatment in patients with certain conditions. There are observed variations in immunological phenotypes among racial groups, with some patients identifying as black showing higher levels of inflammation, indicated by elevated IgG index, cellular pleocytosis, or oligoclonal bands.

While there is limited research to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between race and disease severity or treatment response, existing literature generally suggests that people of different races respond well to highly effective therapies. For instance, anti-CD20 medications and natalizumab are found to be effective across racial groups, including those who might have started with a higher disease risk.

The CHIMES study, focusing on the Black population treated with ocrelizumab, aims to evaluate the efficacy of this highly effective treatment method in this specific group. However, there is still much to understand about these racial distinctions, with ongoing debates on the biological vs social construct of race and its impact on disease outcomes.

Recent studies highlight differences in disease burden between Black and White patients without providing a clear assessment of the underlying causes. The complexity of these studies, including various confounders, makes it challenging to draw definitive conclusions.

Overall, while there are observed differences in immunological responses across racial groups, current evidence suggests that effective treatments can still be beneficial regardless of race. Further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms and factors contributing to these variations.

Video synopsis is AI-generated and reviewed by NeurologyLive editorial staff.

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