One Minute Insight
Professor Patrick Chinnery explains how researchers at the NIHR Cambridge BRC are trying to understand neurological conditions such as stroke and brain trauma, to create new treatments that can benefit patients.
Alemtuzumab in Multiple Sclerosis
Cambridge BRC researchers were the first to use alemtuzumab in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. Alemtuzumab had been developed in the 1980s (as “Campath”) in Cambridge to treat cancers.
T and B white blood cells normally attack bacteria, but in patients with MS, these white blood cells attack the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. In trials done from 1991 to 2012, researchers found that alemtuzumab stopped the immune system from attacking these nerves. As a result, patients with multiple sclerosis did not get worse, and indeed often noticed an improvement in their disability; this has never been achieved before.
Alemtuzumab was licensed in Europe in 2013 and approved by NICE in 2014. It is now been licenced in over 50 countries, and administered to tens of thousands of people with multiple sclerosis.