Daclizumab drug offers new treatment option for people living with relapsing forms of MS in the UK

Once-monthly, self-injected treatment offers new option for people living with active disease

A new, first-in-class treatment which is believed to use a double-action approach to fight MS by rebalancing the immune system, has today been authorised in the UK for people living with relapsing forms (the most common type) of the disease. ZINBRYTA™ (daclizumab) offers once-monthly, self-injected dosing, and has demonstrated its ability to reduce the frequency of relapses (attack of symptoms) and the risk of disease progression. Daclizumab trials included SELECT and DECIDE, the largest clinical trial ever undertaken in MS.

How does daclizumab work?

Daclizumab is thought to work by targeting and blocking the growth of activated T cells, which are known to gradually damage myelin, and eventually damage the central nervous system (CNS). Additionally, daclizumab increases the number of natural killer cells in the body, strengthening their natural ability to find and kill existing activated T cells. By rebalancing the immune system, daclizumab is thought to help protect against damage within the CNS. Clinical studies have shown that daclizumab positively impacts relapse rates, disability progression, brain lesions (detected through MRI scans), and cognitive function in MS, along with a generally manageable safety profile.

Professor Gavin Giovannoni, Chair of Neurology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and daclizumab study investigator comments:

The authorisation of daclizumab is another step forward in the fight against MS. The fact that it works in a different way to other therapies not only furthers our understanding of this complex disease, but also importantly gives patients and clinicians an additional treatment option to consider - which is vital because the course of the condition can be so different from patient-to-patient.

MS affects approximately 100,000 people in the UK, and 2-3 times as many women as men have the condition. In MS, the body’s immune system causes inflammation, which damages the protective coating (myelin) around the nerves in the CNS, stopping the nerves from working properly. Symptoms of MS vary from patient-to-patient, but can include loss of mobility, speech problems and cognitive problems such as difficulty with thinking and memory.

60% of people living with MS not taking a treatment

In a recent survey amongst MS-specialists in the UK, 96% believed that there are people with MS who are eligible, but not currently taking, a treatment who could benefit from reconsidering their decision in light of the additional therapeutic choices now available. Active management of the disease is important as MS is not a static condition, but instead progresses over time. This can lead to irreversible development, or increased severity, of a number of symptoms. Even more worrying is that even when symptoms aren’t present, underlying damage to the brain can be happening, leading some specialists in the area to urge patients to consider treatment early in the disease course.

“We are pleased to offer daclizumab as an additional treatment option for relapsing forms of MS in the UK, and we look forward to working with reimbursement bodies over the coming months to support access for eligible patients” comments Terry O’Regan, Vice President and Managing Director of Biogen UK and Ireland. “There has been great innovation in the MS field in recent years but we still have too many patients who are falling short of optimal health outcomes, and we have a responsibility as a company with great heritage in this area to continue our search for pharmacological solutions, whilst also supporting the MS community more broadly”.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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