Dubai: A new therapy to treat two types of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been launched in the UAE.

The therapy called Ocrevus has been launched by Roche Pharmaceuticals. It is approved by the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

The therpay promises to treat patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RMS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), .

MS is a chronic autoimmune disorder for which there is currently no cure. It occurs when the immune system abnormally attacks the protection cover around the nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, causing inflammation (lesions) and consequent damage to the way nerves work.

PPMS is amongst the most disabling forms of MS.

“Until now, people affected by PPMS didn’t have any treatment options, which only left patients to hope that the disease wouldn’t aggressively progress. Now, those living with PPMS could hope to enjoy a perceptible improvement in their quality of life, thanks to slower disability progression and reduced signs of damage in the brain,” said Abed Sabra, general manager, Roche Pharmaceuticals in the UAE.

The therapy targets the immune cells, thought to be responsible for the damage (lesions) that lead to disability, while allowing the immune system to continue functioning. It has also been proven to be an important and more effective new treatment option for people with relapsing forms of MS.

As for patients with PPMS, the therapy was the first treatment to significantly slow disability progression and reduce signs of damage in the brain.

Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for medical practice and licence sector at the ministry, said: “Patients’ welfare is at the heart of our mission, which is why we are welcoming innovations like this into our market, as they make a real difference to patients’ and their family’s lives, health and happiness.”