Last month, Mark Walker, our business development director, and Fabrice Allum, managing director of Porterhouse Insights, attended the ECTRIMS (European Committee for treatment and research in multiple sclerosis) congress in Berlin. This is the largest multiple sclerosis (MS) meeting in the European Scientific calendar, attracting over 10,000 delegates and covering many new developments in all areas of MS.
Mark and Fabrice identified three key themes across the meeting:
- The use of neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels as a biomarker for disease activity and response to treatment – when neurons or axons degenerate, NfL are released into the blood or cerebrospinal fluid. Research presented at ECTRIMS shows promise for NfL as a simple biomarker of MS activity and severity that could provide a cost-effective option to support MRI. Researchers are also exploring its use in tracking brain degeneration in progressive disease and for identifying suboptimal treatment response in relapsing–remitting disease. If NfL proves to be marker of inadequate disease control, it could turn out to be revolutionary for MS management.
- Treating early with newer (more powerful) agents – in MS, irreversible damage begins early in the disease course. It has been proposed that a change in paradigm towards effective early treatment may protect high-risk patients from further irreversible damage and loss of function. Clinical trial and real-world data supporting the efficacy of disease-modifying therapies in newly diagnosed and early MS were presented at the ECTRIMS congress. The data showed that the majority of patients remained free from confirmed disability progression, with some having been treated with disease-modifying therapies for up to nine years.
- The importance of patient-centered care – several industry-sponsored symposia focused on the importance of improving communication between healthcare professionals and patients, and engaging/empowering patients in managing their own healthcare, to improve long-term outcomes. Two posters also highlighted the growing need for patient and public involvement (PPI) in research and clinical guideline development, which may ensure a focus on the real lives and needs of people with MS. Our teams at Porterhouse Medical Group have a strong MS heritage.
If you would like to discuss insights on MS therapy from the ECTRIMS congress in Berlin or have any questions about our experience in MS, please get in touch: https://www.porterhousemedical.com/contact/.