Research part-funded by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity contributes to treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
 On 1st November 2012, it was announced that Phase III trials into a new drug 'alemtuzumab', have been successful - establishing that this is an effective treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients.

The Freemasons' Grand Charity gave £100,000 towards this research in 2010, at the University of Cambridge.

"Our research shows the transformative effect that alemtuzumab can have for people with MS. Patients who continue to show disease activity while on their initial therapy are especially difficult to treat. Now, we have shown that alemtuzumab works where first-line drugs have already failed. It not only reduces the chances of disability associated with MS but may even result in long-term clinical improvements", said Professor Alastair Coles, lead author of the paper and a Clinician at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Cole's team has been investigating how to detect people who are susceptible to side-effects - this is the research specifically funded by The Freemasons' Grand Charity.

"Although alemtuzumab causes potentially serious side-effects, these can be identified and treated providing a monitoring schedule is carefully followed. Additionally, we think that we can identify which patients are at risk of autoimmune disease after alemtuzumab, and we are currently recruiting for a clinical trial which will further explore whether we can use a drug to reduce the risk of autoimmunity in those at highest risk", said Dr Coles.

Decisions on drug licences for alemtuzumab are expected in 2013.

The Freemasons' Grand Charity is delighted to have been involved in this successful research, which it hopes will help thousands of people in the future.

For further information and a printable case study