Yale University announced today the initiation of a multicenter study aimed at treating early stage multiple sclerosis (MS). Supported by and in collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, the study, known as “CELLO,” will investigate whether short-term treatment with ocrelizumab in patients with MRI lesions consistent with early MS without clinical disease—known as radiologic isolated syndrome—prevents the onset of symptoms. Operating across 20 clinical sites, “CELLO will be randomized and placebo-controlled, and will study 100 patients with radiologic isolated syndrome for up to seven years. Erin Longbrake, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at Yale School of Medicine, will be global Principal Investigator of the study.
Targeting aspects of the immune system with disease-modifying therapies early in the course of disease for people living with MS can lead to better outcomes. As there are currently no treatment options for radiologic isolated syndrome, the results from CELLO will determine whether early treatment before clinically evidenced disease can delay or prevent disease onset.
“CELLO will be one of the first studies to systematically examine whether short-term immunologic intervention is a viable option in patients with MS,” says Longbrake.
A critical aspect of the investigation will be the deep, immunologic investigation in blood and cerebrospinal fluid of patients treated with ocrelizumab. David Hafler, MD, professor of neurology and immunobiology at Yale has been investigating jointly with Genentech how B cell depletion alters immune function in patients with MS using single cell RNA sequencing technology. A goal of these studies is to develop biomarkers that may predict response to treatment and potentially prevent disease recurrence after treatment. CELLO will ultimately help further the understanding of MS treatment and prevention.
“CELLO moves us in an important direction with the early treatment of patients with MS to prevent disease onset,” says Hafler.