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In Current opinion in neurology

PURPOSE OF REVIEW : Increasingly, therapeutic strategy in multiple sclerosis (MS) is informed by imaging and laboratory biomarkers, in addition to traditional clinical factors. Here, we review aspects of monitoring the efficacy and risks of disease-modifying therapy (DMT) with both conventional and emerging MRI and laboratory measures.

RECENT FINDINGS : The adoption of consensus-driven, stable MRI acquisition protocols and artificial intelligence-based, quantitative image analysis is heralding an era of precision monitoring of DMT efficacy. New MRI measures of compartmentalized inflammation, neuro-degeneration and repair complement traditional metrics but require validation before use in individual patients. Laboratory markers of brain cellular injury, such as neurofilament light, are robust outcomes in DMT efficacy trials; their use in clinical practice is being refined. DMT-specific laboratory monitoring for safety is critical and may include lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, autoimmunity surveillance, John Cunningham virus serology and COVID-19 vaccination seroresponse.

SUMMARY : A biomarker-enhanced monitoring strategy has immediate clinical application, with growing evidence of long-term reductions in disability accrual when both clinically symptomatic and asymptomatic inflammatory activity is fully suppressed; and amelioration of the risks associated with therapy. Emerging MRI and blood-based measures will also become important tools for monitoring agents that target the innate immune system and promote neuro-repair.

Barnett Michael, Barnett Yael, Reddel Stephen