Introduction: Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) represent an emerging and rapidly growing field of therapy in neuroinflammatory diseases. Adhesion molecule blockade by natalizumab represents the first approved mAb therapy in neurology, approved for therapy of highly active multiple sclerosis (MS). Removal of immune cells by anti-CD52 mAb alemtuzumab or anti-CD20 mAb rituximab are other prime examples with existing positive Phase II and Phase III trials. MS clearly represents the neuroinflammatory disease entity with the largest body of evidence. However, some of these approaches are currently investigated or translated for use in other, rare neuroinflammatory diseases, such as neuromyelitis optica (NMO), inflammatory neuropathies and (neuro)-muscular disorders.
Areas covered: This review will highlight the most relevant therapeutic approaches involving mAbs in the field of neuroinflammatory diseases as published in peer-reviewed journals and presented on international meetings.
Expert opinion: There is continuously growing evidence on the therapeutic relevance of mAbs in neuroinflammatory disorders. In MS meanwhile several studies have provided evidence for efficacy: In addition to natalizumab, approved in 2006, several other candidates are under development, the most eminent examples with the most advanced study programs being anti-CD52 alemtuzumab, anti-CD20 principles and anti-CD25 daclizumab. Other intriguing candidates are anti-IL-17 strategies, and interference with the complement pathway, partly also developed for other neuroinflammatory disorders.