Finding New Therapeutic Targets in MS: Daniel Reich, MD, PhD


The senior investigator at the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke spoke about further research his lab is conducting into MS mechanisms.

“I'm particularly excited about some of the new genomic tools for understanding cellular and molecular pathology and relating that to the imaging. One of the big efforts in our lab is to try to understand the cellular diversity. There are dozens of different kinds of cells with different flavors that are present in these lesions, and we're beginning to unravel that, and that is turning up new targets that we didn't necessarily expect.”

Anakinra (NCT04025554) and tolebrutinib are being studied for their effects on 7-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (7T MRI) paramagnetic rim lesions (PRLs) in multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2 open-label studies.1 The studies, part of a new phase 2a clinical trial paradigm, were presented at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum, February 25-27, by Jemima Akinsanya, DO, Neuroimmunology Clinical Fellow, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Akinsanya and colleagues are looking at PRLs for their chronic and acute inflammatory properties, and the new paradigm serves as a way to evaluate anakinra and tolebrutinib, but also the clinical trial design of using 7T MRI in MS. Anakinra was approved by the FDA for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease in 2001, and tolebrutinib is an investigational, orally available, brain-penetrant Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor.2 

NeurologyLive spoke with a principal investigator of the study, Daniel Reich, MD, PhD, senior investigator, National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, to learn more about the evaluating clinical trial design of the trials he is working on. He also spoke about further research in the mechanisms of MS and finding new therapeutic targets.

For more coverage of ACTRIMS Forum 2021, click here.

1. Akinsanya J, Absinta M, Dargah-zade N, et al. Toward the use of paramagnetic rim lesions in proof-of-concept clinical trials for treating chronic inflammation in multiple sclerosis. Presented at ACTRIMS Annual Forum; February 25-27, 2021. Poster P126.
2. Kineret® (anakinra) for injection, for subcutaneous use. FDA. 2012.
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