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Interview with Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant on the latest MS treatment options - part 2
Interview by Whitney McKnight, Frontline Medical News, with Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant, Professor of Neurology and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.
The next frontier in MS research is the development of novel therapies to help protect the neurons from damage through neuro-inflammation. This can be targeted with neuroprotective agents, but also by stimulating remodeling. Dr. Waubant recently did a study with the drug riluzole, a glutamate receptor blocker approved for ALS. It is a well-tolerated oral drug, and glutamate is involved in MS neurodegeneration. A study was done in early rrMS patients on interferon, and they received in addition either placebo or riluzole. The small phase II study did not identify an effect on brain atrophy. In Britain a new, much larger study will soon start, investigating riluzole and other drugs in patients with secondary progressive MS. This study is currently being developed, with lessons learned from the first study. An important challenge in studies for neuroprotection is to have good tests to detect the neuroprotective effect. Many measures are taken along, to find the most sensitive measurements and combinations thereof.