Professor Anne La Flamme and her team

Scope 66 - Why do some people respond better to MS treatments than others?

30 July 2018, Multiple Sclerosis, Professor Anne La Flamme

A recent exploratory trial looking at the effect of the drug MIS416 on patients has found that the type of immune response induced from the drug plays an important role in determining its efficacy.

MIS416 is a microparticle developed by Innate Immunotherapeutics that has shown promise for use in regulating immune responses associated with multiple sclerosis.

“The trial ended up being really important in understanding how MIS416 could work and provide benefit – and what you need to get that benefit,” says MS programme leader Professor Anne La Flamme. “We knew some people benefited more than others, but we didn’t know why.”

The answer, it seems, lies in the subtle differences between each patient’s immune system.

What Prof La Flamme and her colleagues found was that the MIS416 drug targets myeloid cells, a subset of immune cells. The myeloid cells activated by MIS416 calm down the immune response and make their way into the central nervous system where they reduce the inflammation that leads to multiple sclerosis symptoms.

Because a patient’s immune system plays a determinant role on the effectiveness of drugs such as MIS416, patients with a slightly different immune system profile had a less effective response to treatment. 

“Understanding this will help future work in tailoring drugs or treatment options to the immune profile of MS patients. This will help to make treatments more effective and ensure that patients receive the best treatment for them,” says Prof La Flamme.

This research was recently published in Pilot and Feasibility Studies and was a collaborative effort led by Dr Gill Webster (Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd) with Prof Nancy Mayo (McGill University), Dr Dalice Sim (Otago University) and Prof Anne La Flamme.