Researchers from the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) have conducted a groundbreaking study comparing different treatment options for highly active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who have shown limited response to conventional therapies.
The study unveils the superior effectiveness of autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (AHSCT).
According to Professor Tomas Kalincik, Chief Investigator of the study and Head of the Neuroimmunology Centre at the RMH, "This study provides compelling evidence that AHSCT is an effective treatment option for patients with highly active relapsing-remitting MS, whose relapses cannot be controlled with the commonly used MS therapies.”
The study, which included a total of 4,915 individuals, compared the outcomes of 167 patients who received AHSCT, to those who received other medications such as fingolimod, natalizumab, or ocrelizumab.
Researchers analysed data on annualised relapse rates, freedom from relapses, and disability scores.
“Among these patients with aggressive form of relapsing MS, AHSCT not only reduced the frequency of relapses but also improves disability outcomes. These findings have the potential to transform the way we approach the treatment of relapsing MS that is otherwise difficult to control,” added Prof Kalincik.
Although AHSCT carries some risks, it represents a higher-yield therapy that can provide long-term benefits in carefully selected scenarios.
“We were able to highlight the importance of personalised treatment approaches and offer hope to those with highly active, treatment-resistant MS,” said Prof Kalincik.
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Clinical trials are a very important part of the research process. New treatments, medications and medical devices cannot be approved for use in Australia without going through clinical trials.