Anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies effectively deplete peripheral inflammatory B-cells and CD20-expressing T-cells in multiple sclerosis (MS). Approval of these agents has therefore led to successful prevention of relapses from new local inflammatory lesion formation, but questions remain over whether central nervous system (CNS) B-cells can be targeted. Amit Bar-Or, MD, FRCPC, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, discusses the current approaches under investigation that may extend the use of B-cell-targeted therapies. A new area of interest is Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors. These small molecules can target infiltrating B-cells and myeloid cells in the periphery, but can also access the CNS to target resident B-cells and microglia. Therefore, BTK inhibitors may target progressive disease as well as relapses. This interview took place during the ACTRIMS Forum 2021.
Dr. Bar-Or has participated as a speaker in meetings sponsored by and received consulting fees and/or grant support from: Accure, Atara Biotherapeutics, Biogen, BMS/Celgene/Receptos, GlaxoSmithKline, Gossamer, Janssen/Actelion, Medimmune, Merck/EMD Serono, Novartis, Roche/Genentech, Sanofi-Genzyme.
Dr. Bar-Or receives research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The National MS Society (NMSS), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Foundation and Melissa and Paul Anderson Chair in Neuroinflammation.
Dr. Bar-Or serves on the: Board of Directors for Americas Committee in Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS); Education Committee for the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS); Steering Committee of the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN); President, International Society for Neuroimmunology (ISNI).