Immunological Mechanism of Action and Clinical Profile of Disease-Modifying Treatments in Multiple Sclerosis

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Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a life-long, potentially debilitating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). MS is considered to be an immune-mediated disease, and the presence of autoreactive peripheral lymphocytes in CNS compartments is believed to be critical in the process of demyelination and tissue damage in MS. Although MS is not currently a curable disease, several disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are now available, or are in development. These DMTs are all thought to primarily suppress autoimmune activity within the CNS. Each therapy has its own mechanism of action (MoA) and, as a consequence, each has a different efficacy and safety profile. Neurologists can now select therapies on a more individual, patient-tailored basis, with the aim of maximizing potential for long-term efficacy without interruptions in treatment. The MoA and clinical profile of MS therapies are important considerations when making that choice or when switching therapies due to suboptimal disease response. This article therefore reviews the known and putative immunological MoAs alongside a summary of the clinical profile of therapies approved for relapsing forms of MS, and those in late-stage development, based on published data from pivotal randomized, controlled trials.

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