A list of drugs currently being prescribed and sold to Multiple Sclerosis patients.
(This list was compiled a couple of years ago. Please tell me about others so that I can add them to the list.)

Arzerra = Monoclonal antibody specific for all B lymphocytes. Identical to Ofatumumab.
A New York Times article to read

C6480 H10022 N1742 O2020 S44: "chemical formula" given on a Wikipedia page for a monoclonal antibody

Aubagio : Inhibits synthesis of pyrimidines, and thus of DNA, inhibiting growth of all cells.

Avonex (Biogen) = Beta interferon

Betaserone (Bayer Healthcare) = Beta interferon

Copaxone = Glatiramer = random polymer of 4 amino acids (glutamic acid, lysine, alanine and tyrosine)

Extavia (Novartis) = Beta interferon

Gilenya = "fingolimod" (A good Wikipedia article on this, with the chemical structure). Binds to sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors, and traps lymphocytes in lymph nodes, reducing the rate of relapses by half. A modified form of an antibiotic discovered in secretions of a certain fungus that was studied because of its use in Chinese folk medicines. It was said to produce eternal youth.

Natalizumab = Tysabri A monoclonal antibody against a lymphocyte integrin (integrins link cell surfaces to fibronectin). Intended to inhibit lymphocyte locomotion through the blood-brain barrier.
(There are other monoclonal antibodies against lymphocytes that have been used to treat MS)

Novantrone = Mitoxantrone. See Wikipedia. Previously an anti-cancer drug; inhibits growth of all cell types.

Ocrelizumab = a monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to the CD20 antigen, found only on B lymphocytes. (This one has a Wikipedia article) Now being tested; plan for use against Lupus & lymphoma.
Quote from Wikipedia quoting Reuters: "Roche announced the suspension of clinical trials in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus ...suspension of clinical trials followed excess deaths due to opportunistic infections".

Ofatumumab = Monoclonal antibody specific for all B lymphocytes

Ponesimod = Another sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor binding molecule; traps lymphocytes in nodes.

Rebif (Merck Serono) = Beta Interferon.

Rituximab (Rituxan) = Monoclonal antibody that specifically attacks all B lymphocytes. Used to treat lymphoma. Like Ocrelizumab, this binds to the CD20 antigen, but the developer (Genentech) says that "there are molecular differences and the drugs each interact with the immune system differently." reference

Tecfidera = dimethyl fumarate. According to the national MS Society "Tecfidera is thought to inhibit immune cells and molecules, and may have anti-oxidant properties."
Fumarates are a centuries-old anti-inflammatory, European folk medicine for psoriasis. Fumarate is in the Krebs cycle, and is the trans isomer of maleic acid. This stuff is so easily synthesized, I wonder how much they charge for it. "Tecfidera" forsooth!

[Just googled it: >$7,906.77 for a pack of sixty 240-milligram tablets, a 30-day supply (14.4 grams); this is up from about $5000 when I first did this search two years ago. See http://www.goodrx.com/tecfidera. Also see the Wikipedia article, from which the following quote:
In a non-medical use, DMF was applied as a biocide in furniture or shoes to prevent growths of mold during storage or transport in a humid climate. However, due to incidences of allergic reactions after skin contact the European Union banned DMF in consumer products since 1998, and since January 2009 the import of products containing DMF was also banned.]

You can buy 100 grams of 99% pure dimethyl fumarate from Fisher Scientific for about $55.  

Just about any chemical that inhibits the immune system, even one that just inhibits cell division, will be tried out on a few thousand volunteers who have multiple sclerosis. If their symptoms improve, then the chemical will be sold for six or seven thousand dollars per month, for 15 years. Among other bad side effects, they inhibit the immune system, without any specificity for anti-myelin B or T lymphocytes. Therefore they weaken your resistance to germs, often very seriously.

I suggest that you read a few dozen web sites and blogs by people with MS. Those people deserve our help, and every ounce of creativity we can bring to the fight against these monstrous life-ruining diseases.

Unless a drug has some kind of specificity for anti-myelin (or other anti-self) lymphocytes, I don't see how it can possibly cure MS. To cure, you need selectivity. So use your imagination to invent methods of selectivity. Weakening the whole immune system is a blind alley.


Another paper to look at: Association of Nonmyeloablative Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation With Neurological Disability in Patients With Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, JAMA 313(3):275-284, January 2015

Also see the editorial in the same issue discussing this paper.

And an article about the high price of MS drugs, including a list of current prices of many of the drugs listed above