Fingolimod in treatment of multiple sclerosis

Oddział Kliniczny Propedeutyki Neurologicznej, Uniwersytet Medyczny w Łodzi

AKTUALN NEUROL 2010, 10 (3), p. 145-151

Currently immunomodulatory drugs for multiple sclerosis (MS) are injected subcutaneously, intramuscularly or intravenously. This route of drug delivery creates some inconveniences for patients and health care system and there is a need to introduce oral treatment with efficacy superior to available treatments. The first drug of this characteristics is fingolimod (FTY720). This drug is easily absorbed from digestive tract with the maximal concentration in the blood 12-16 hours after ingestion. The mechanism of FTY720 action targets sequestration of mature lymphocytes in lymph nodes and Peyer’s patch, what limits the number of lymphocytes in the blood and inflammatory cuffs. The function of lymphocytes and their activation is not affected. It is suggested that fingolimod slows lymphocyte migration using two independent mechanisms: firstly by diminishing the number of S1P receptors on lymphocytes and blocking signalling for their migration, the second mechanism relies on constant stimulation of those receptors on endothelium in lymph node sinuses to strengthen the barrier limiting lymphocyte migration. Promising results of phase II clinical trials enabled development of two big phase III trials which opened the way to register fingolimod: FREEDOMS (FTY720 Research Evaluating Effects of Daily Oral therapy in Multiple Sclerosis) and TRANSFORMS (Trial Assessing Injectable Interferon versus FTY720 Oral in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis). FREEDOMS study confirmed superiority of fingolimod over placebo in all analyzed endpoints. TRANSFORMS study showed that fingolimod slows MS activity stronger that interferon β-1a. Those data confirm that FTY720 is promising new drug for the treatment of MS.

Keywords: fingolimod, multiple sclerosis, oral treatment, immunomodulation, clinical trials