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ECTRIMS 2023 | Decoding the genetic predisposition to PML in patients on natalizumab

Eli Hatchwell, MA MB BChir (Cantab) DPhil (Oxon) BA (OU), Population Bio, Oxfordshire, UK, delves into the challenges and complexities associated with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a severe disorder linked to the unchecked replication of the JC virus. Despite being recognized in various contexts, including drug treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS), such as natalizumab, PML’s occurrence remains sporadic and perplexing. Notably, possessing the JC virus alone, even when coupled with recognized risk factors, doesn’t guarantee the onset of PML. Drawing parallels with the X-linked lymphoproliferative disorder (XLP), Dr Hatchwell hypothesizes that a combination of specific viral infections and genetic predispositions might lead to PML. Through a targeted gene study, focusing on known genes rather than the entire human genome, they identified several genetic variants potentially increasing PML risk across different conditions. This interview took place at the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) Congress 2023 in Milan, Italy.

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