Latest MS drug approved by FDA hailed as a major breakthrough

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)–Every year, hundreds lace up their sneakers for the Walk MS in Connecticut, raising thousands for local programs and services for families affected by multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system.

It also helps fund research–paving the way for the development of much needed drugs like this one.

“I wouldn’t want to use the word cure but it may be as close that we can get to a cure.”

Well known neurologist Dr. David Hafler with the Yale Multiple Sclerosis Center, led a secondary clinical trial on the recently FDA approved – Ocrevus.

He points to video, “Here we have the b-cells, which are interacting with the t-cells, which are attacking the nervous system.”

The drug attacks the b-cells in the brain and by doing so turns off the t-cells.

“If you don’t allow the t-cells to get activated then you stop the disease.”

It works best for patients recently diagnosed with M-S.

“If someone has new onset-MS, we believe this should be a first line drug, to see if it can stop the inflammation. It appears to be incredibly effective in terms of stopping the early, early disease.”

The intravenous treatment — was also approved for primary progressive M-S.

“It does appear to have a modest effect but not nearly as dramatic as in relapsing remitting disease.”

Still, Dr. Hafler says it’s a major breakthrough.

“What we don’t know and this will take decades to really figure out– is if you stop the very early inflammation, the relapsing remitting, do you prevent patients from going into the progressive phase? Time will tell but our guess is that it will.”

Walk MS starts this weekend and goes through May. There are nine sites across the state.

News 8’s Darren Kramer and Teresa Dufour will be in Cheshire this Sunday.

Registration is at nine am. The walk is at 10.

For more information on Walk MS, visit

Yale Multiple Sclerosis Center – 6 Devine Street, Suite 2B, North Haven, CT 06473
Call 203-287-6100 or log onto

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