Historical note and nomenclature
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By K K Jain MD

Natalizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody, is an alpha4 integrin antagonist that has been shown to reduce the development of brain lesions in experimental models as well as in patients with multiple sclerosis in clinical trials. Integrins are adhesion molecules that stabilize the interaction between cells and their environments by cell signaling. Early evidence for alpha4 integrin-mediated central nervous system disease was based on study of autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a T-cell-mediated disease that resembles multiple sclerosis in animals (Yednock et al 1992). In 2004, the FDA approved natalizumab and it is marketed under the trade name of “Tysabri” (Biogen Idec and Elan).