Immune Tolerance Network   

A clinical research consortium sponsored by NIAID and JDRF

The Study Drug

Orencia packaging and bottle.What is abatacept?

The first thing to know about abatacept is that it is not a new drug. It is already used (with FDA approval) to treat rheumatoid arthritis, another autoimmune disease. It has also been studied in autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and to prevent transplant rejection. Thousands of people have received abatacept for one condition or another, so doctors already know a lot about it. Because it has not been thoroughly tested in MS, however, it is considered an experimental therapy for MS.

How does abatacept work?

The science behind abatacept is different from other approved treatments for MS. Unlike immunosuppressive drugs, abatacept targets specific cells in the immune system, known as T cells. T cells are key players in the autoimmune attack that leads to disability in MS. And because abatacept affects the immune system in a more specific way, researchers hope it will be a more effective treatment for MS, with fewer side effects than current medications. The ACCLAIM Study is a clinical trial to test whether abatacept can stop or delay the progression of relapsing-remitting MS.