Children and adolescents living with MS face physical and cognitive disability that can severely limit their ability to perform daily activities, such as attending school. During the recent ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS meeting in Paris, I had the pleasure of catching up with Dr Tanuja Chitnis, director of the Partners Pediatric MS Center at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and one of the leaders in pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS).
Dr Chitnis spoke about the PARADIGMS study, a first ever controlled, randomized, double-blind study designed specifically for pediatric MS. The study showed an impressive 82% reduction in the annualized relapse rate with fingolimod compared to interferon beta-1a. So far, the treatment options for pediatric MS are very limited, which is why Dr Chitnis was especially excited about the results from this study. “The results are almost unheard of in a clinical trial in MS in general, and very impressive results in a pediatric population.“
Vas Narasimhan, Global Head of Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis, also commented on the study. “Living with MS is a tremendous challenge at any age. However, its appearance in children and adolescents, when these young individuals should be developing and focusing on their future, can be devastating,“ he said. “The outcome of this study is very exciting news for the MS patient community, all of whom benefit from potential advances in high-quality, evidence-based care such as this. I would like to thank the young people with MS and their families, physicians and nurses who participated and made this landmark study possible.”