27 November 2000
A new study is being set up to examine the safety and effectiveness of Zenapax (a laboratory-manufactured antibody) in treating multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis may be caused by an abnormal immune response in which white blood cells called T lymphocytes attack the myelin sheath that covers nerves and parts of the spinal cord. Zenapax binds to protein receptors on lymphocytes, keeping them from interacting with interleukin-2, a substance necessary for their growth. Patients with multiple sclerosis who have had at least one relapse within 18 months of the start of the study and in whom interferon-beta treatment has not been successful are being recruited to this study. There are two study phases: baseline and treatment. During the baseline phase, patients will have three magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans over 2 months to evaluate their disease activity. During treatment, patients will receive seven intravenous (I.V.) infusions of Zenapax in the clinic over a 6-month period. Patients will have MRI scans before each infusion. These studies will hopefully allow conclusions about the safety of Zenapax in MS, but also address its effectiveness with respect to modifying the inflammatory activity in the brain of MS patients and inhibit autoimmune T lymphocytes that are involved in the disease process.