For years, research efforts into effective treatments for primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) have been frustrating. While we have 14 FDA-approved disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for relapsing MS, there currently are no therapies approved for PPMS. Fortunately, it looks like a new therapy — ocrelizumab (Ocrevus), which is very similar to rituximab (Rituxan) — should be approved in December 2016 for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS and PPMS.
Research does not end there. On September 15, 2016, the International Progressive MS Alliance awarded €12.6 million ($13.7 million in U.S. dollars as of mid-October 2016) to fund three multi-year global projects to accelerate the pace of progressive MS research. Additionally, promising results from a small randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study of high-dose biotin (also known as MD1003) in the treatment of progressive MS were published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal in September 2016.
What is biotin?
Biotin (or vitamin H) is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin that is found naturally in many foods. It acts as an essential coenzyme involved in energy metabolism and fatty acids synthesis. Data from a small open-label pilot study and the randomized trial referenced above suggest that high doses of biotin have some impact on disease progression and permanent disability in patients with progressive MS.
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High-dose Biotin as Treatment for Progressive Multiple Sclerosis