Advances in translational neuroimmunology over the last two decades have revolutionized the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. A pathological hallmark of multiple sclerosis is the presence of leukocytes in the areas of disease activity in the CNS.Natalizumab inhibits the trafficking of lymphocytes from the blood into the brain and spinal cord by blocking the adhesion molecule a4-integrin. Representing the enormous success of a molecular targeted approach, natalizumab was the first mAb approved for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. However, only a few months after its approval, natalizumab was withdrawn from the market because of an unanticipated life threatening adverse effect: progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Natalizumab was later reintroduced with required adherence to a strict monitoring program. In this article, we review the bench-to-bedside journey of natalizumab, along with the lessons learned from postmarketing studies.
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