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Drug May Be Effective for Optical Autoimmune Disease

Last Updated: September 17, 2009.

Mycophenolate mofetil may be a safe and effective treatment for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders, according to a study in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology. A related study in the same issue concludes that an immunofluorescence assay is much more sensitive than an immunoprecipitation assay in diagnosing the disease.

THURSDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Mycophenolate mofetil may be a safe and effective treatment for neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum disorders, according to a study in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology. A related study in the same issue concludes that an immunofluorescence (IF) assay is much more sensitive than an immunoprecipitation (IP) assay in diagnosing the disease.

In the first study, Anu Jacob, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues investigated the safety and efficacy of mycophenolate mofetil treatment in 24 patients with NMO spectrum disorders, where seven were treatment-naive. At a median follow up of 28 months, they found a lower relapse rate and stable or reduced disability.

In the second study, Andrew McKeon, from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues compared the sensitivity and specificity of IF and IP assays to detect NMO-IgG (based on reactivity with the antigen aquaporin-4) in 6,335 patients who had requested serological evaluation. They found that detection of NMO-IgG by either method was highly specific for the disorder, although IP was significantly less sensitive than IF.

"In this large, clinical practice-based study, NMO-IgG detected by IF or IP was highly specific for NMO spectrum disorders. The IP assay was significantly less sensitive than IF. Combined testing improved sensitivity by 5 percent," the authors conclude.

Several authors of the first study are named inventors on patents related to NMO spectrum disorders. Several authors of the second study are named authors on a patent for technology being used to develop a kit assay that will be available worldwide.

Abstract - Jacob
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Abstract - McKeon
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