Immune response to immunotherapy: the role of neutralising antibodies to interferon beta in the treatment of multiple sclerosis

Lancet Neurol. 2005 Jul;4(7):403-12. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(05)70117-4.


Interferon beta was the first therapy to be approved for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) more than 10 years ago. Interferon beta reduces relapse rates and disease burden and activity, and it may have beneficial effects on the progression of long-term disease disability. The occurrence of neutralising interferon-beta antibodies has been postulated as a possible cause of the failure of interferon beta in some patients with MS. Here we discuss the basic mechanisms that may account for the generation of an interferon-beta antibody response and its biological implications. We review the evidence for neutralising antibodies as a consequence of interferon-beta treatment, and discuss the implications for the treatment of MS. Strategies to assess and manage the long-term impact of neutralising antibodies will be outlined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / physiology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / physiology
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Interferon-beta / chemistry
  • Interferon-beta / classification
  • Interferon-beta / immunology*
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Models, Immunological
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Antibodies
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Interferon-beta