Immune competence after alemtuzumab treatment of multiple sclerosis

This pilot case control study looked at immunocompetence in 24 people with MS treated with alemtuzumab, which is a lymphodepleting anti-CD52 humanised monoclonal antibody. The researchers wanted to see how alemtuzumab affects immunological memory and the ability to mount a humoral immune response against a novel antigen. The study group measured antibody responses to three vaccines (diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis vaccine, Haemophilus influenza type b and meningococcal group C conjugate vaccine, and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine). In addition to this, antibodies to mumps, rubella, varicella-zoster and Epstein-Barr virus were also measured before alemtuzumab treatment, at one month and 9-11 months after treatment.

The researchers found that serum antibodies were detectable after treatment, and vaccine responses were normal to T-cell-dependent recall antigens, a T-cell-dependent novel antigen and T-cell-independent antigens. Overall, the study demonstrated that people with MS retained humoral immunological memory as well as the ability to mount a humoral immune response against a novel antigen after treatment with alemtuzumab. People with RRMS seem to be immunocompetent after treatment with alemtuzumab.

Authors: McCarthy CL, Tuohy O
Source: Neurology. 2013 Aug 7. [Epub ahead of print]

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