Though the 2019 European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) conference has passed, Quanterix is not slowing down and working hard to continue the momentum from growing industry-wide Simoa adoption in research and real-world testing of multiple sclerosis (MS). Quanterix Nf-L assays have become the foundation of many studies and developing treatments for MS over the past year, and presentations highlighting Simoa grew by 40% from the 2018 event. This increase represents a tremendous advancement in a global struggle to eliminate MS, showing how digital biomarker analysis is paving the way for precision health.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, more than 2.3 million people are affected by MS globally, but because no single test exists to detect the disease, diagnosis is frequently delayed or inaccurate. Over the last few years, support for the Nf-L biomarker as a reliable method for prognosis and treatment monitoring has steadily risen, and this year, much of the ECTRIMS research broke new ground in improving both MS diagnosis and monitoring. More than 9,000 participants from more than 100 countries attended the event, and from among the 1,316 posters and 1,893 abstracts presented, a sizable number relied upon the application of Simoa for identifying neurodegenerative conditions.
Among standout examples, Roche reported usage of Simoa technology to validate Genentech’s Ocrevus drug in lowering serum Nf-L levels in patients with relapsing-remitting or primary progressive MS. Nf-L presence was reduced so drastically, it returned to healthy donor levels, and patients experienced significantly decreased wheelchair use and slowed disease progression. Roche’s results were obtained through retrospective analyses of its Phase III OPERA I, OPERA II and ORATORIO trials.
Similarly, Novartis was able to demonstrate the efficacy of ofatumumab in patients with relapsing MS by monitoring Nf-L as a secondary endpoint through Simoa. The data, obtained through Novartis’ Phase III ASCLEPIOS trials, showed reductions in Nf-L after just three months of treatment with ofatumumab.
Biogen, in collaboration with Siemens Healthineers, shared results on their attempts to adapt the Simoa Nf-L assay onto a routine analyzer platform that could one day become a full-fledged, commercial IVD assay, appropriate for clinical use. Related attempts were reflected in numerous other ECTRIMS presentations as well that focused on the potential for serum Nf-L as a future prognostic and treatment monitoring tool for MS.
Aside from commercial headway, several studies, including one published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) Neurology, provided useful new understandings of MS itself, covering everything from the genetics of MS severity to inflammation as a causative factor for neurodegeneration. Two studies referenced Simoa in particular, with one showing how the Nf-L and GFAP assays can be combined for greater disease insights, and the other highlighting Simoa’s ability to identify neuronal damage as early as six years before the onset of MS by identifying elevated serum Nf-L levels.
The 2019 conference, as with each annual ECTRIMS event, produced critical research with profound impact for the MS community. Reportage from the field on the ever-expanding use cases of the Nf-L biomarker serves as powerful validation that Quanterix is powering scientific breakthroughs that may someday vastly improve the lives of MS sufferers worldwide. We are thrilled to continue our charge against neurodegeneration with top academic institutions, research organizations, and pharmaceutical companies, and wait in anticipation of what exciting developments next year’s ECTRIMS event will bring.
To learn more about Quanterix’ Nf-L assay, click here.