On February 8, 2021, the Kessler Foundation announced its plan to conduct a study on the effects of ocrelizumab (Ocrevus®) on cognitive fatigue in patients with relapsing-remitting (RR) multiple sclerosis (MS).

The Kessler Foundation is a major nonprofit organization that heads rehabilitation research regarding the improvement of cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes in patients with neurologic disabilities secondary to brain and spinal cord damage. Genetech provided support for the foundation’s new study on the effects of the disease modifying agent, ocrelizumab, on cognitive fatigue in patients with RRMS. John DeLuca, PhD and senior vice president of Research and Training will be leading the team of study researchers in this investigation.

The Kessler Foundation highlighted the significant impact of cognitive fatigue on the quality of life in this patient population. According to the foundation, “None of the available medications or disease-modifying therapies for MS are indicated for the treatment of cognitive fatigue.” Its researchers previously identified a physiologic marker of cognitive fatigue in MS. Consequently, investigators of the upcoming study hope to provide data to elucidate the effects of ocrelizumab on this marker among patients with RRMS.

This will be a 3-year study involving 3 patient groups: those with MS who will initiate ocrelizumab therapy, those with MS who will initiate glatiramer acetate injections, and healthy control patients who will be matched on age, education, and gender. Study investigators will evaluate cognitive fatigue and brain activity in all patients at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months following treatment initiation.

According to Dr. DeLuca, the study of pharmacologic therapies on cognitive fatigue is vital to the treatment of cognitive fatigue among patients with MS. “Using our physiological marker in this rigorously designed study,” he concluded, “we will be able to determine the impact of ocrelizumab on cognitive fatigue in individuals with MS.”


Kessler Foundation to Study Effects of MS Disease-Modifying Therapy on Cognitive Fatigue Press release. East Hanover, NJ: Kessler Foundation. February 8, 2021. https://kesslerfoundation.org/press-release/kessler-foundation-study-effects-ms-disease-modifying-therapy-cognitive-fatigue

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