B Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis: Entering an Era
Monoclonal antibodies that target CD20 expressing B cells represent an important new treatment option for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). B cell depleting therapy is highly effective against relapsing forms of the disease, and is also the first treatment approach proven to protect against disability worsening in primary progressive MS. Moreover, evolving clinical experience with B cell therapy, combined with a more sophisticated understanding of humoral immunity in preclinical models and in patients with MS, have led to major progress in deciphering the immune pathogenesis of MS. Here, we review the nuanced roles of B cells in MS autoimmunity, the clinical data supporting use of ocrelizumab and other anti-CD20 therapies in the treatment of MS, as well as safety and practical considerations for prescribing. Lastly, we summarize remaining unanswered questions regarding the proper role of anti-CD20 therapy in MS, its limitations, and the future landscape of B cell based approaches to treatment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.