So, as you my recall from my previous post [1], the new wave of MS therapies aims at decreasing the B-Cell proliferation. The previous MS drug generation was based on  interferon therapy and aimed at  reducing the T-cells proliferation. Well known such interferon drugs are Betaseron and Avonex

Note: B-Cells and T-Cells are lymphocytes, produced in the spleen and lymph nodes. These lymphocytes [Wikipedia] are the back bone of your Immune System

So now comes a study [2] showing that interferon therapy decreased the T-Cell count all right, but increased the B-Cell production, at least for a while.

Maybe that is why Interferons have a more limited efficacy than the B-Cell moderating treatments.

A post in NeuroImmunology [3], is helpful to understand what is happening in the MS treatment  community (should I say industry…) That post  aimed at discussing and lamenting  the fate of Rituximab, as compared to Ocrelizumab, two of the new B-Cell targeting drugs. The post contains a discussion on this new approach.  Curiously, the post is authored by a researcher in immunology that wanted to remain anonymous. Probably work politics…

Why would one still want to increase the proliferation of B-Cells by using interferon drugs? But what is interesting is that the interferon based drug  have demonstrated some benefit, albeit less than the new drug class we mentioned.

Note also that thrust of this research was already published in 2008 [4]

Talk to your Doctor about this particularly if you are taking Interferon type of MS drugs


[1] MediNewsDigest ; “New Drug Classes For Multiple Sclerosis Are Coming: Just In or Clinical Trials” ; November 3, 2011

[2] Journal of NeuroImmunology ; “”Opposite effects of interferon-beta on new B and T cell release from production sites in multiple sclerosis patients” ; 14 November 2011

[3] NeuroImmunology Blog ; “The shameful story of Rituximab in Multiple Sclerosis” ; The shameful story of Rituximab in Multiple Sclerosis”; Nov 3rd, 2011

[4] Brain, Oxford Journals ; “Interferon-b increases BAFF levels in multiple sclerosis: implications for autoimmunity”

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