Understanding Disadvantages to African Americans in NMOSD Trials: Evanthia Bernitsas, MD


The neurologist at Wayne State University provided background on why there needs to be a continued focus on including and studying African American patients with NMOSD in trials. [WATCH TIME 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"They are underrepresented in clinical trials. The reason for that could be cultural, could be bias. Either way, they don’t have the opportunity to try a new medication before approval."

Previous studies have shown that African Americans diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) may have a distinct experience managing their disease, including an earlier age of onset and more severe relapses compared with Caucasians, as well as different responses to targeted therapies. Subanalysis data from N-MOmentum, a pivotal phase 3 trial evaluating inebilizumab (Uplizna; Horizon Therapeutics), an FDA-approved therapy for patients with aquaporin-4 antibody NMOSD, highlighted the therapies success in treating this racial population.

The data, presented at the 15th World Congress on Controversies in Neurology, September 23-26, showed that African Americans treated with inebilizumab over a 28-week period had an annualized attack rate of 0.06 compared to 0.09 in the overall group. Furthermore, African Americans in the inebilizumab group developed fewer infections than those in the placebo group, although 1 participant in the treatment group developed cytopenia that resolved in 4 weeks.

Lead author Evanthia Bernitsas, MD, neurologist, Wayne State University, felt as though the data was compelling enough for clinicians to feel confident when prescribing this treatment. She sat down with NeurologyLive to discuss why it’s important to conduct NMOSD trials that feature underserved populations.

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