New Multiple Sclerosis Drug : Stephen Hauser’s 40-Year Journey

New Multiple Sclerosis Drug : Stephen Hauser’s 40-Year Journey

[Stephen Hauser] For me the journey began almost four decades ago. I was a young trainee. Multiple Sclerosis in the 1970s was an entirely untreatable disease. This was a particularly
aggressive presentation of multiple sclerosis. She was a superstar,
a lawyer of the Carter administration at age 27,
and I remember thinking that this was the most unfair thing I had seen in medicine. MS is caused by cells
of the immune system, inflammatory cells that for
some reason are misguided and attack the myelin
coating of our nerve cells in the brain and in the spinal cord. With the inflammation
against the myelin covering, nerve impulses that require communication between different parts
of our nervous system become disrupted. A generation ago after
15 years of relapsing MS, 50% of people required
a cane and had developed progressive MS leading to a wheelchair or bedbound state. So one of the great challenges
in the field has been to develop therapies that
are even more effective and that are safe enough to be given early in the disease. It was thought that T cells were necessary and also sufficient to cause disease. So all that you needed was T cells and that was the state of MS research in the early 1980s. Ray Adams, my chair and
mentor in Boston, said you should try to develop a
model that looked more like multiple sclerosis. We developed a model in
which B cells working alongside T cells were responsible for flares of demyelinations. So we sent this grant to NIH asking to use a new therapy that was targeted against B cells called rituximab made by Genentech, and they
told us that we think that you are promising investigators but the science lacks
biological plausibility. We’re happy to fund you
but change the therapy to a T-cell therapy and we’d be delighted to move forward. So we were devastated, but
we were not ready to quit. At that time I began discussions with Genentech about the feasibility of doing exactly what we
had proposed to the NIH carrying out trials for both relapsing and progressive forms
of MS with rituximab, and it was our hope that
we could use ocrelizumab as a more modern version of rituximab and that this would be
safer and equally effective for prolonged use. Ocrelizumab destroys
B cells that are moving about in the body. Those are destroyed reliably
and for several months with one dose of ocrelizumab treatment. The availability of a highly effective and well tolerated treatment means that people at the dawn
of their MS can be treated with a therapy that will essentially completely block the
inflammation in myelin that causes relapses and remissions, and we are optimistic that
young people today faced with more aggressive forms of MS will have a far brighter outlook than did that young woman 40 years ago. [Sarah Warto] Since being diagnosed with MS, I have had a few bouts of
the disease progression. My most recent flare-up,
after my child was born, it’s set me back mentally and physically. I had a fairly severe
attack that really limited my ability to use my leg. I could walk for a minute
and then after a minute, it was like a totally different person had taken over my body. My hope with ocrelizumab is that I will have coverage for a
much longer period of time and therefore I will be able to take the medicine before I get pregnant and it will still be active in my body. It’ll give me more strength through my pregnancy and beyond afterwards, which is incredibly important to me. [Stephen Hauser] My hope is that ocrelizumab will make a life-changing difference
for many hundreds of thousands of people with MS today and many more who may
develop MS in the future.


  1. Thank you so much. I will be talking to my doctor next month about the Ocrelizumab and hopefully getting off my current MS therapy Copaxone.

  2. I was just diagnosed with MS in January earlier this year. I'm an active mom of 2 young children and have had such difficulty with the emotional impact that this news has brought to me and my family. Let alone the physical difficulty. My disease causes me to have numbness in my hands, feet, my whole leg at times, and the newest flare up was my left side of my face and head. I feel beyond fortunate that this drug is available to me & if ever diagnosed this is the time. I look forward to my appointment to discuss the drug is in 2 weeks and cannot wait to be done with these god awful injections every couple of days. I am currently taking copaxone. And I hope and pray this drug will stop the progression of this disease and limit my flare ups. Thank you Dr Hauser and his team, this drug seems like it's going to kick MS's A__!

  3. All  MS  drugs  are  poisons   not one has  ever   cured  MS  and never   ever  will. I have  fought  MS  for  45 years  NO MS meds  ever  to  slow it down  and proved  so many medics  wrong about this cruel disease.I have kept  many http  links  safe  of  all  the  evidence  of  many who have   sadly passed away  unaware  of the  damage these  MS  drugs   do to their body.

  4. i was gluten allergic for 15 yrs ,but not gluten ataxia …. gluten ataxia stated after hep b vaccine …..perhaps hep b antigen in brain acted as trojen horse for blood brain barried to let T cells pass surreptitiouly and imflamed neuron who has hep b antigens from its vaccine .only if we can see how to remove this inflamatory hep B antigen .we r back to normal . gluen ataxia ,MS ,autism r all same disorder

  5. i have a problem with all language with writing and with concentrating that i can't concentrate for more than 2 or 3 m,

    i just want find out if i have this or what is my problem
    can you tell me how can i find out this and what i have to do ?

  6. Got a terrific MRI 6 months after my first treatment with Ocravus, noting "marked improvement" and "no longer enhancing" and "smaller on flair sequence". Thank you from Jerusalem for your part in developing this treatment!!

  7. For me the journey began in 2014. In 2015, I found the treatment HSCT. I started fundraising & in May of 2016, I was treated. My very last MS DMD was on 2/2/2016 when I started my wash out. It’s 2019 now & my MS has been stopped. I’ve seen a lot of symptom reversal. I’ve been blessed with the ability to return to work, to drive, I not have heat issues, no more brain fog and best of all, no more fatigue. Let’s put the dmd’s aside cause slowing the disease is no where as good as stopping it with HSCT.

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