Stephen L. Hauser, MD: Increasing Understanding of Disease Progression in MS


The director of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neuroscience spoke to the advantages of having agents that can be used across the spectrum of MS, and the role disease progression plays early on.

“This new idea that progression in MS is present across the continuum [of disease], and is also more easily controlled earlier on, means that highly effective therapy as early as possible is a very reasonable clinical approach to patients.”

At MS Virtual 2020, the 8th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS meeting, September 11–13, 2020, a number of presentations were given highlighting agents that are approved for use in patients at a variety of disease stages, ranging from clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Although MS is a field that is well-equipped with therapeutic options, the advantages of having high-efficacy therapies that can be used at almost any point in disease are somewhat obvious.

One such agent is ofatumumab (Kesimpta; Novartis), which Stephen L. Hauser, MD, professor of neurology, and director, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, and colleagues presented data on. Those findings suggest that ofatumumab is superior to teriflunomide (Aubagio; Sanofi) in newly diagnosed, treatment-naïve patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have low absolute relapse rates, very low MRI lesion activity, and prolonged time to disability worsening.

These findings also bring up the ongoing debate around whether early intensive (or induction) therapy or escalation therapy strategies should be utilized for patients with MS. As Hauser pointed out to NeurologyLive in this interview, the improved understanding of the role disease progression plays in the process of disease has given hints that initial or early treatment with therapies such as ofatumumab may provide better benefit.

For more coverage from MS 2020, click here.

Gartner J, Hauser S, Bar-Or A, et al. Benefit-risk of ofatumumab in treatment-naïve early relapsing multiple sclerosis patients. Presented at MS Virtual 2020 Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS meeting; September 11–13, 2020. Abstract P0192
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