For the drug natalizumab, it is already possible to create a treatment regimen tailored to the individual. Because of the custom-dosed treatment, patients visit the hospital less often for an infusion and are less likely to experience serious side effects. In addition, medical costs are also lower. Whether this also applies to the MS drug ocrelizumab is being investigated in a new national study set up by the MS Center Amsterdam. Neurologists Joep Killestein and Zoé van Kempen have been awarded 1.3 million euros for this study, by ZonMw and the Treatmeds Foundation.

Ocrelizumab is an effective therapy for relapsing-remitting MS. People with MS who are taking ocrelizumab get an infusion in the hospital once every six months. In most patients, however, ocrelizumab continues to work for much longer, and in some cases possibly even several years after the last infusion. Given the potential side effects of ocrelizumab, there is a need to investigate whether a personalized treatment regimen is possible. This is being investigated further in a new study by neurologists Zoé van Kempen and Joep Killestein of the MS Centrum Amsterdam.

The wish of the patient

The study compares two groups of 150 people with MS. One group will receive the standard treatment with ocrelizumab and the other group will receive personalized treatment. These groups will be compared on: MS attacks, MRI characteristics, blood values, side effects, complications, quality of life, treatment burden, and costs. Zoé van Kempen: “A survey among people who use ocrelizumab showed that they have a need for this study into a personal treatment regimen. Also, during these times of COVID-19, a treatment that does not impact the immune system more than necessary is highly relevant.”


Not only do patients find this new MS study important. Many hospitals and MS centers in the Netherlands that heard of the study have joined Killestein and Van Kempen. The research is made possible by a subsidy from ZonMw in the Good Medicine Use program and is financially supported by the Treatmeds Foundation, an initiative of Dutch health insurers. This enthusiastic involvement of the health insurers is an important step in transferring future results to regular care.

Source: Amsterdam UMC