An Unpredictable Disease

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic unpredictable neurological autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 1 million adults in the U.S. and 2.3 million adults globally.1,2 In MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. MS can affect a person’s muscle control, balance, vision, sensation, and cognitive function. Of the individuals living with MS globally, 1 million live with a progressive form of MS, including secondary progressive MS (SPMS) and primary progressive MS (PPMS).2,3 These individuals can face enormous uncertainty as they experience worsening symptoms and gradual accumulation of disability affecting their daily lives and outlook on life.

 ~1 million

People living with
progressive forms of MS

Up to 100%

EBV infection
among people with MS


Though the exact cause of MS is still unknown, environmental and genetic risk factors are associated with developing MS. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a well-established risk factor in MS supported by more than 20 years of research demonstrating the link between EBV infection and development of MS.4,5

About 95 percent of people around the world are infected with EBV at some point in their lives. However, most people’s immune system can control the virus, which remains hidden in human B cells with little or no adverse effects.5 EBV infection has been reported in up to 100 percent of people with MS.6-8

Developing Cutting Edge Medicine to Help Address an Urgent Need in Progressive Forms of MS

Despite advances in MS, treatment options are few for those living with progressive forms of MS. There is an urgent need for new and innovative treatment options that slow or reverse disability.

Atara is developing ATA188, an investigational therapy which is intended to specifically recognize EBV-infected immune cells (B cells and plasma cells) in the CNS, which may be causing the disease.

We are currently enrolling the randomized double-blind placebo-controlled part of the ATA188 clinical trial for the treatment of progressive forms of MS. More information can be found on (NCT03283826).

This trial is currently seeking participants at sites across the U.S. and Australia.

If you or someone you know is living with progressive forms of MS and is interested in participating or learning more, please contact your healthcare providers or you can contact Atara directly.

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  1. Wallin MT et al. The prevalence of MS in the United States: A population-based estimate using health claims data. Neurology. 2019;92:e1029-e1040.
  2. Browne P et al. Atlas of Multiple Sclerosis 2013: A growing global problem with widespread inequity. Neurology. 2014;83;1022-1024.
  3. Confavreux C and Vukusic S. Natural history of multiple sclerosis: a unifying concept. Brain. 2006;129:606-616.
  4. Pender MP. The essential role of Epstein-Barr virus in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. Neuroscientist, 2011;17(4):351-67.
  5. Bar-Or A et al. Epstein-Barr Virus in Multiple Sclerosis: Theory and Emerging Immunotherapies. Trends Mol Med, 2020;26(3):296-310.
  6. Pakpoor J et al. The risk of developing multiple sclerosis in individuals seronegative for Epstein-Barr virus: a meta-analysis. Mult Scler.
  7. Dobston R et al. Epstein-Barr–negative MS: a true phenomenon? Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2017;4(2):e318.
  8. Ruprecht K. Absence of Epstein-Barr virus seronegativity in a large cohort of patients with early multiple sclerosis. ECTRIMS Online Library.