Providence St. Vincent hospital is one of the largest Multiple Sclerosis Centers in the Northwest, treating roughly 2,000 patients each year.

Recently, five patients took part in the nationwide trials of a new MS drug called Ocrevus.

“That trial was evaluating patients with the relapsing form of multiple sclerosis which is actually the most common form of multiple sclerosis,” said Dr. Kyle Smoot.

The doctors found that the new drug worked twice as well as the existing drugs.

Most patients have a form of MS that involves getting symptoms, improving, then relapsing with even worse symptoms. Ocrevus helped those patients.

“Patients were less likely to have a relapse and some patients in the clinical trial did not have a relapse. And for those who did the relapses were less often,” said Dr. Smoot.

The clinical trial lasted two years.

The drug also seemed to work against a more rare form of MS which slowly gets worse over time. It’s the first drug approved for that type of MS.

“So this gives us a new hope for patient’s whose ms is slowly progressing over time that potentially we might be able to halt that progression or at least slow it down,” Dr. Smoot said.

Ocrevus works by targeting part of the body’s immune system and telling it to back off on its attack of nerve endings.

The hospital is also taking part in ongoing clinical trials connected to the drug. Six patients are involved in those trials.