Dr Mitzi Joi Williams: CHIMES Data Fill Need for More Complete Picture of MS Diversity

In several abstracts presented at this year's American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, Mitzi Joi Williams, MD, FAAN, Joi Life Wellness Neurology Clinic, explores multiple sclerosis–related outcomes in diverse patient populations.

Mitzi Joi Williams, MD, FAAN, medical director and CEO, Joi Life Wellness Neurology Clinic, is an author on several abstracts being presented at this year’s American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting that explore outcomes from multiple sclerosis (MS) in diverse patient populations that include pregnant women and Black and Hispanic/Latinx individuals.

In this interview, she discusses the findings of “An Interim Analysis of Efficacy and Safety Data in Black and Hispanic Patients With Multiple Sclerosis Receiving Ocrelizumab Treatment in the CHIMES Trial.”


What is the mechanism of action of ocrelizumab in relapsing MS?

Ocrelizumab is a B-cell–depleting agent. Essentially, by depleting B cells, we decrease the inflammatory response in the immune system, which results in many of the symptoms we see related to multiple sclerosis.

What are the principal findings of the CHIMES trial interim analysis that was presented at the AAN annual meeting?

The CHIMES trial was really birthed out of the need for information about MS [multiple sclerosis] in diverse populations. There is a lot of data, over the past decades, suggesting that the risk and incidence of MS is much higher in Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities than previously thought. However, when we look at our clinical trial data, there is very little enrollment of these populations in our phase 3 clinical research programs. Also, there are some studies that suggest that there may be differences in B-cell repletion in, for instance, African American communities and that that mechanism of action may be one that potentially could be very effective in those populations. So the scientific question, as well as the need for representation of these populations, is really what spurred the creation of the CHIMES trial.

In terms of the interim analysis, we're very excited to report out the data about NIDA [National Institute on Drug Abuse], which was very promising for the African American and Hispanic populations. Although the trial did not have a direct comparison to White populations, the trial design was very similar to some of the other programs, such as the OBOE study, and so we plan to hopefully compare some of that data to determine if the minority populations did equally as well as the White populations in some of the other bigger phase 3 programs.

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