Anakinra for the Treatment of Chronically Inflamed White Matter Lesions in Multiple Sclerosis

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (NIH)
Overall Status
Recruiting ID

Study Details

Study Description

Brief Summary


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS). People who have MS may have lesions that form on parts of the CNS, such as the brain. Some of these lesions may be inflamed for a long time. This causes MS to progress. There is no treatment for these lesions. Researchers believe that a drug that decreases inflammation can help.


To see if a drug called anakinra can help clear inflammation in MS brain lesions.


People 18 and older with MS and at least one white matter lesion.


Participants will be screened with one or more Neuroimmunology Clinic protocols.

Participants will have a medical history and physical exam. They will have blood and urine tests. They will have a lumbar puncture. For this, a needle is inserted between the bones in the back, and cerebrospinal fluid is removed. They will also have an MRI of the brain. The MRI scanner is a cylinder surrounded by a strong magnetic field. Participants will lie on a table that slides in and out of the scanner.

Participants will repeat the above procedures throughout the study.

Participants will get their first dose of anakinra at the clinic. They will administer the rest of the doses themselves, by injection under the skin.

Participants will track their daily dosage electronically or in a written drug diary.

Participants will have 4 visits while taking the drug. At each visit, sharps boxes and empty vials will be collected.

Participants will have 2 follow-up visits after completing treatment.

The study will last 28 weeks.

Condition or Disease Intervention/Treatment Phase
Phase 1/Phase 2

Detailed Description


The overall goal of this study is to determine the safety, tolerability, and radiological efficacy of up to 12 weeks of subcutaneous injection of anakinra in people with multiple sclerosis and evidence, by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), of chronic active (also known as smoldering ) lesions in the white matter.

Study population:

5 people with progressive or stable MS, at least one paramagnetic rim lesion on 7-tesla MRI, and no new white matter lesion formation for at least 3 months or clinical relapse for at least 12 months, will complete the study.


In this open label, dose escalation study, participants will receive up to 12 weeks of

subcutaneous anakinra with initial dose of 100 mg daily up to a target dose of 300 mg daily. Study visits will occur every 4 weeks while on treatment, with 2 follow-up visits at 4 and 12 weeks after treatment discontinuation.

Outcome measures:

The primary outcome measure is disappearance of one or more paramagnetic rims from white matter lesions identified at baseline. Secondary outcomes include safety and tolerability, clinical and radiological outcomes. Exploratory serological and CSF measures will also be obtained to investigate mechanism of action of anakinra and for biomarker development.

Study Design

Study Type:
Anticipated Enrollment :
10 participants
Intervention Model:
Single Group Assignment
None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose:
Official Title:
Anakinra for the Treatment of Chronically Inflamed White Matter Lesions in Multiple Sclerosis
Actual Study Start Date :
Oct 25, 2019
Anticipated Primary Completion Date :
Dec 31, 2022
Anticipated Study Completion Date :
Dec 31, 2022

Arms and Interventions

Arm Intervention/Treatment
Experimental: 1/Active treatment

Patients with MS will be assigned to the same intervention

Drug: Anakinra
100 mg daily weeks 1-4, 200 mg daily weeks 5-8, 300 mg daily weeks 9-12.

Outcome Measures

Primary Outcome Measures

  1. Disappearance of one or all paramagnetic phase rims [At baseline and every 4 weeks]

    Assessment of paramagnetic phase rims by scans.

Secondary Outcome Measures

  1. Symbol digit modalities test (SDMT) [Every 4 weeks for the duarion of study]

    Clinical assessment

  2. Safety and tolerability [28 weeks]

    Monitoring of AEs

  3. Proportion of paramagnetic rim lesions in which the rim has diminished or disappeared at any time point [Every 4 weeks for the duration of the study]

    MRI scan

  4. Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) [Every 4 weeks for the duarion of study]

    Clinical assessment

  5. Changes in T1 relaxation time within paramagnetic rim lesions at all time points, relative to non-rim lesions [Every 4 weeks for the duration of the study]

    MRI scan

  6. Changes in size of paramagnetic rim lesions at all time points, relative to non-rim lesions [Every 4 weeks for the duration of the study]

    MRI scan

  7. 9-hole peg test (9HPT) [Every 4 weeks for the duarion of study]

    Clinical assessment

Eligibility Criteria


Ages Eligible for Study:
18 Years and Older
Sexes Eligible for Study:
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:

  • Age greater than or equal to 18

  • Ability to give informed consent

  • If fertile, agreement to use an effective method of birth control during the study and for up to 3 months after the last dose of the study drug

  • Agreement not to participate in any other interventional study while participating in this protocol

  • Diagnosis of MS, either stable or clinically progressive

  • Prior 7-tesla MRI scan, with high image quality in the judgment of the study neuroradiologist, demonstrating at least one white matter lesion with a paramagnetic rim (41)

  • Pregnancy or current breastfeeding

  • Use of another investigational agent within 1 month of screening

  • Active infection and or neutropenia (ANC < 1000 cells/microliter)

  • History of lymphoma

  • Known hypersensitivity to administration of anakinra

  • Previous treatment with anakinra and/or TNF-receptor inhibitor

  • History of asthma

  • QuantiFERON-TB gold positive

  • Prior treatment with anti-CD20 agent (ocrelizumab, rituximab)

  • Prior treatment with anti-CD52 agent (alemtuzumab)

  • History or current evidence of any condition, therapy, or laboratory abnormality that might confound the results of the trial or interfere with participation for the full duration of the trial; or not in the best interest of the subject to participate, in the opinion of the treating investigator

  • Renal dysfunction, as defined by Clinical Center guidelines for administration of gadolinium

  • Liver dysfunction, as indicated by baseline aspartate aminotransferase (AST) or alanine aminotransferase (ALT) greater than 1.5 times the upper limit of normal

  • Clinical relapse in the 12 months prior to dosing

  • New lesion formation (by comparison of screening MRI to a previous MRI of sufficient quality) in the 3 months prior to dosing

  • One or more gadolinium-enhancing lesions on the screening scan

  • Change in disease-modifying therapy in the 6 months prior to dosing

  • Medical contraindication for 7-tesla MRI (including, but not limited to, any non-organic implant or other device such as a cardiac pacemaker or infusion pump or other metallic implants, objects, or body piercings, that are not MRI-compatible or cannot be removed)

  • Psychological contraindication for 7-tesla MRI (e.g., claustrophobia)

  • Contraindication to gadolinium administration.

  • Active neoplastic disease or any medical condition, other than MS, that requires concurrent immunosuppression or immunomodulation

Contacts and Locations


Site City State Country Postal Code
1 National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Bethesda Maryland United States 20892

Sponsors and Collaborators

  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


  • Principal Investigator: Daniel S Reich, M.D., National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Study Documents (Full-Text)

None provided.

More Information

Additional Information:


None provided.
Responsible Party:
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Identifier:
Other Study ID Numbers:
  • 190124
  • 19-N-0124
First Posted:
Jul 19, 2019
Last Update Posted:
Aug 3, 2022
Last Verified:
Mar 8, 2022
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product:
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product:
Keywords provided by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Additional relevant MeSH terms:

Study Results

No Results Posted as of Aug 3, 2022