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Genève, Switzerland

di Cantogno E.V.,Merck Serono SA Geneva | Russell S.,Merck Serono SA | Snow T.,Merck Serono SA
Patient Preference and Adherence

Background: All established disease-modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis require parenteral administration, which can cause difficulties for some patients, sometimes leading to suboptimal adherence. A new electronic autoinjection device has been designed to address these issues. Methods: Patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis currently receiving subcutaneous or intramuscular interferon beta-1a, interferon beta-1b, or glatiramer acetate completed an online questionnaire (July 4-25, 2008) that surveyed current injection practices, experiences with current injection methods, and impressions and appeal of the new device. Results: In total, 422 patients completed the survey, of whom 44% used autoinjectors, 43% prefilled syringes, and 13% syringes and vials; overall, 66% currently self-injected. Physical and psychological barriers to self-injection included difficulty with injections, needle phobia, and concerns over correct injection technique. Only 40% of respondents were "very satisfied" with their current injection method. The new electronic autoinjector was rated as "very appealing" by 65% of patients. The benefits of the new device included the ability to customize injection settings and to review dosing history. Conclusion: New technologies may help patients overcome physical and psychological barriers to self-injection. The combination of a reliable and flexible autoinjection device with dose-monitoring technology may improve communication between health care professionals and patients, and improve treatment adherence. © 2011 Gonzalez et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd. Source

Dorner T.,Charite University Hospital Berlin and Deutsches Rheumaforschungszentrum | Kinnman N.,Merck Serono SA Geneva | Tak P.P.,University of Amsterdam
Pharmacology and Therapeutics

B cell-depletion therapy, particularly using anti-CD20 treatment, has provided proof of concept that targeting B cells and the humoral response may result in clinical improvements in immune-mediated inflammatory disease. In this review, the mechanisms of action of B cell-targeting drugs are investigated, and potential biomarkers associated with response to treatment in patients with autoimmune diseases are identified. Most available data relate to B cell depletion using anti-CD20 therapy (rituximab) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Treatment leads to significant clinical benefit, but apparently fails to deplete long-lived plasma cells, and discontinuation is associated with relapse. Biomarkers commonly used in studies of B cell-targeted therapies include rheumatoid factor, anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies, and immunoglobulin (Ig) levels. More recently, there has been interest in markers such as B cell phenotype analysis, and B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS)/a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL), the latter particularly in studies of the IgG Fc-transmembrane activator and CAML interactor (TACI) fusion protein (atacicept) and anti-BLyS therapy (belimumab). Data from clinical trials of B cell-depleting agents in RA suggest that specific autoantibodies, BLyS, APRIL, and circulating and synovial B lineage cell levels may have potential as biomarkers predictive of response to treatment. Further trials validating these markers against clinical outcomes in RA are required. In patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, Fc receptors and levels of circulating immune cells (including B cells and natural killer cells) may be relevant markers. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Broekmans F.J.M.,University Utrecht | De Ziegler D.,University of Paris Descartes | Howles C.M.,Merck Serono SA Geneva | Gougeon A.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | And 2 more authors.
Fertility and Sterility

Objective: To provide recommendations for the standardized use of the Antral follicle count (AFC) which is used to predict ovarian response to gonadotrophin stimulation during assisted reproductive technology treatment. However, the nature of the follicles that are visualized by ultrasound and the competence of the oocytes held within are largely unknown. In addition, there is considerable variability in the clinical definitions and technical methods used to count and measure antral follicles in both published studies and clinical practice. Design and Setting: In December 2007, specialist reproductive medicine clinicians and scientists attended a workshop in an effort to address these issues. Literature concerning the physiology and measurement of ovarian antral follicles was reviewed, clinical and technical considerations regarding antral follicle measurement were discussed, and an operational definition of AFC was developed. Patient(s): None. Intervention(s): None. Outcome Measures: Simple recommendations were established for the standardization of AFC assessment in routine clinical practice. The basic clinical and technical requirements required for AFC evaluation were agreed upon, and a systematic method of measuring and counting antral follicles in routine practice was proposed. Conclusion(s): The use of a standardized approach according to the practical recommendations for antral follicle counting as presented is encouraged in future clinical trials and routine practice. The authors also advocate a systematic evaluation of these recommendations as standardized study data become available. © 2010 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Source

The present invention provides a new synthesis for preparing N-(3-amino-quinoxalin-2-yl)-sulfonamides of general formulae (I) or (I) and intermediates sulfonamides of formula (II) or (II):

Sormani M.P.,University of Genoa | Li D.K.,University of British Columbia | Bruzzi P.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Stubinski B.,Merck Serono SA Geneva | And 3 more authors.

Objective: In multiple sclerosis (MS), the aim of therapies is to prevent the accumulation of irreversible disability. This is difficult to assess given the short time course of clinical trials. MRI markers and relapses are often used as surrogate of disability in MS studies, but their validity remains controversial. We sought to validate, at the individual patient level, MRI lesions and relapses as surrogates for disability progression over the course of MS trials. Methods: Individual patient data from a large, placebo-controlled trial of interferon -1a in relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) were analyzed. The Prentice criteria were applied to evaluate surrogacy of 1-year MRI active lesions and relapses for disability worsening (Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS]) over the 2-year follow-up. Results: All Prentice criteria were satisfied. Treatment reduced by 31% the odds of having EDSS worsening over 2 years, reducing the mean number of MRI lesions by 61% and the mean number of relapses by 36% over 1 year. Both 1-year MRI lesion activity and relapses, when considered independently, accounted for more than 60% of the treatment effect on 2-year EDSS worsening. A combination of 1-year MRI lesion activity and relapses explained 100% of the treatment effect on EDSS worsening over 2 years. Conclusions: A combined measure of 1-year changes in MRI lesions and relapses after interferon therapy fully estimated the corresponding effect on 2-year EDSS worsening. This short-term combined measure appears to be a surrogate for disability progression over a longer term when evaluating the effect of interferon in RRMS. Copyright © 2011 by AAN Enterprises, Inc. Source

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