Customized Treatment For MS Seen

With many of the current multiple sclerosis treatments and therapies coming with potential severe side effects, some researchers are trying to look into customizing certain treatments by determining their risk versus effectiveness ratio by looking at a person’s genetic blueprint. Researchers are trying to look into a pharmacogenetic approach and have been able to prove that the genetic blueprint of some transporter proteins can allow experts to draw conclusions on the effectiveness and risk of side effects of the drug mitoxantrone.

According to data from the German Multiple Sclerosis Society, around 10 percent of German Ms patients have been treated using mitoxantrone in the past few years. The studies have shown that it has been highly efficient in suppressing disease activity. It is considered as the possible treatment for MS when all other medications use may no longer be suitable or enough as well as when the disease has progressed into its most severe from. But the effectiveness of the treatment is sometimes coupled with its potential for certain side effects on the heart, reproductive organs and other parts of the body. Its use has been weighted of the risk versus its effectiveness as a treatment.

Along with this data, studies made by Prof. Ralf Gold and Associate Prof. Andrew Tan and their research team have shown that different immune cells respond differently to the drug mitoxantrone. They also hypothesized that certain drug carrier proteins in the body may also have different influences on the cells and therefore may affect the effectiveness of the drug on MS patients. The researchers targeted studying the so-called ATP binding cassette transporters=ABC transporters and discovered that such less potent transporters come with higher concentrations of mitoxantrone and vice versa, which may affect the effectiveness of the drug.

The team then went on to test their hypothesis to a group of MS patients from Europe. Results show that the differing genetic blueprints of the transporters can indeed be linked to the effectiveness of mitoxantrone in the treatment of MS in patients. This means that a certain genetic disposition found in some patients concerning low transporter activity have resulted in the patients responding 3.5 times more positively to mitoxantrone than those patients who had the genetic disposition of higher transporter activity.

Source: Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "Hopes For Tailor-made Multiple Sclerosis Treatment With Mitoxantrone." ScienceDaily 1 September 2009. 8 September 2009