Most cases of multiple sclerosis (MS) include relapses or “attacks.” However, there are some people with MS who get worse gradually without relapses. This is known as either non-active primary or secondary progressive MS (naPPMS or naSPMS). Most treatments for MS are used for cases of relapsing-remitting MS or active progressive forms of MS.

But we’re investigating what might be next for people with non‑active progressive forms of MS.

Epstein-Barr Virus and MS

Researchers are investigating a new cell therapy approach for the potential treatment of non‑active progressive forms of MS.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a virus that can cause many medical conditions, but is most well known as the cause of infectious mononucleosis or “mono.” There is growing evidence that EBV may be involved in the development of MS. One theory for the development of MS is that EBV infects B cells in the tonsils. Those B cells travel into the nervous system where they produce antibodies and interact with other immune cells. These antibodies and immune cells, called T cells, attack and damage myelin (the protective coverings of the nerves), which produces MS symptoms. Additionally, researchers have found that people who develop MS are less able to control EBV infections.

The Investigational Treatment

The EMBOLD Study is evaluating the safety and effectiveness of an investigational treatment designed to target and eliminate EBV-infected B cells. This investigational treatment is composed of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), which are immune cells donated from donors with healthy immune systems. These cells are designed to target and eliminate EBV-infected B cells.

The investigational treatment is injected through a small needle into a vein in the arm, in a process that typically takes 5 to 10 minutes.