Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers stop neuromyelitis optica attacks with new therapy

Date:
October 9, 2012
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
Researchers have identified a new therapy for patients with neuromyelitis optica that appears to stop inflammation of the eye nerves and spinal cord. NMO is a debilitating central nervous system disorder that is often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis (MS). In the study, patients with severe symptoms of the disease, also known as NMO, were given eculizumab, a drug typically used to treat blood disorders.

Mayo Clinic researchers have identified a new therapy for patients with neuromyelitis optica that appears to stop inflammation of the eye nerves and spinal cord. NMO is a debilitating central nervous system disorder that is often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis (MS). In the study, patients with severe symptoms of the disease, also known as NMO, were given eculizumab, a drug typically used to treat blood disorders.

While not a cure, the therapy Mayo Clinic researchers used in the study to halt attacks could potentially lead to longer attack-free periods for the thousands of NMO patients worldwide. The research is being presented Oct. 9 at the American Neurological Association Annual Meeting in Boston.

NMO manifests itself in attacks that can cause blindness in one or both eyes, weakness or paralysis in the legs or arms, painful spasms, loss of sensation, and bladder or bowel dysfunction from spinal cord damage. Attacks may be reversible, but can be severe enough to cause permanent visual loss and problems with walking. NMO can affect children as young as 2 and adults as old as 90. It is more prevalent in females than males, but affects all racial and ethnic groups. Immunosuppressants are the first line of treatment for NMO.

Mayo Clinic researchers have been international leaders in NMO diagnosis and treatment. In 2004, Mayo Clinic researchers discovered the antibody NMO-IgG -- the first serum biomarker for any form of inflammatory demyelinating brain disease. A year later, they identified the target of the antibody as the water channel aquaporin 4. These discoveries helped physicians better understand the cause and potential treatments for NMO.

Mayo researchers studied 14 NMO patients with active and severe disease symptoms, defined as two attacks in the previous six months, or three within the past year. When the NMO-IgG antibody binds to its target on brain cells, it activates complement, a substance that can kill or injure these brain cells. Patients were treated with eculizumab, an antibody that stops complement from being activated. All 14 study participants received the treatment intravenously every two weeks for one year.

"Disability in NMO is attack related and these attacks are usually severe. If untreated, they can have devastating, irreversible effects on function," says lead author Sean Pittock, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist. "If we can stop the attacks in NMO -- and it appears we can -- then we can hopefully prevent disability and allow patients to maintain function and a good quality of life.

Twelve patients were symptom free throughout the year of treatment. Two patients had one attack each, but these were mild and considered by the investigators to be "possible, not definite" attacks. One experienced mild back pain but had no new findings on neurologic examination or MRI scan of the spinal cord. The other experienced mild visual blurring in the right eye but also was receiving antibiotic therapy for a presumed urinary tract. Because NMO has only recently been identified as a syndrome distinct from MS, knowing how many people have it is difficult. Mayo is studying NMO's prevalence. Mayo Clinic's Neuroimmunology Laboratory so far has detected the antibody in roughly 3,500 U.S. patients.

"We've learned there are many people who fit within the NMO spectrum who, in the past, were believed to have MS," says co-author Dean Wingerchuk, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "In addition, distinguishing NMO from MS is important for preserving the validity of therapeutic trials for MS by not enrolling patients with NMO."

The study was funded by Alexion Pharmaceutical, which makes eculizumab.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Researchers stop neuromyelitis optica attacks with new therapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009092414.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2012, October 9). Researchers stop neuromyelitis optica attacks with new therapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009092414.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Researchers stop neuromyelitis optica attacks with new therapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009092414.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins