Researchers have found that targeting B cells, which are a type of white blood cell in the immune system, may be associated with reduced disease activity for people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
For the study, 231 participants with relapsing-remitting MS received either a placebo or one of several low dosages of the drug ofatumumab, which is an anti-B cell antibody, for 24 weeks, with the first 12 weeks making up the placebo-controlled period. Researchers wanted to determine the effects of ofatumumab dosing regimens compared to placebo on the total number of new brain lesions assessed every four weeks over a 12-week period.
Researchers found that when B cells were reduced to below a threshold of 64 cells per microliter, disease activity, as measured by appearance of new brain lesions, was significantly reduced. On average, people had an annualized rate of less than one new brain lesion per year when B cells were maintained below a threshold of 32 to 64 cells per microliter, compared with 16 lesions without treatment.