Biogen Idec's novel optical nerve repair therapy shows promise, but only some
- Although Biogen Idec's top-line results for its anti-LINGO-1 therapy showed a 34% improvement in recovery of optic nerve latency in patients with acute optic neuritis (AON), results did not reach statistical significance. Still, researchers said they were encouraged.
- Biogen's anti-LINGO-1 therapy did not show any effect on change in thickness of retinal layers or visual function.
- Biogen's 82-person clinical trial testing the effect of anti-LINGO-1 therapy in patients with AON—the RENEW trial—is the first trial to provide evidence of biological repair in this portion of the central nervous system (CNS).
The excitement over the anti-LINGO-1 therapy to repair the CNS by facilitating remyelination after an acute inflammatory injury goes beyond ophthalmology. In fact, a phase II study is investigating the effectiveness of this therapy on patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
The possibility that anti-LINGO-1 could reverse damage and scarring on the myelin sheath could become the basis for a number of CNS-related applications. But critics say that this batch of results from Biogen is underwhelming, especially considering its failure to reach secondary endpoints.