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A much-needed focus on progression in multiple sclerosis

Alan J Thompson

The Lancet Neurology, Volume 14, Issue 2, February 2015, Pages 133–135

Few neurological disorders have seen so great a transformation in public perception as multiple sclerosis. Over the past 20 years, the disease has moved from being an untreatable disorder with few management options to one with active management underpinned by a wide range of oral and injectable treatments, at least for patients with the relapsing-remitting form of the disease (RRMS). The effect that this development has had on people affected by RRMS is difficult to overstate, but these improvements overshadow a less palatable fact: for a sizeable proportion of patients—those with progressive multiple sclerosis—almost no treatment options are available. This group includes patients who develop progression with a gradual deterioration in disability after a period with RRMS (secondary progressive multiple sclerosis) and a smaller number who are aware of a gradual worsening in disability from onset (primary progressive multiple sclerosis). Taken together, these groups constitute more than 50% of the 2·3 million people with multiple sclerosis worldwide.1 Every time a new treatment for RRMS comes on the market, it serves to remind people with progressive multiple sclerosis that they are still waiting and, unsurprisingly, contributes to a sense of frustration and neglect.

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

This online Resource Centre has been made possible by a donation from EMD Serono, Inc., a business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Note that EMD Serono, Inc., has no editorial control or influence over the content of this Resource Centre. The Resource Centre and all content therein are subject to an independent editorial review.

The Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Innovation
supports promising translational research projects by academic researchers to improve understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) for the ultimate benefit of patients.  For full information and application details, please click here

Journal Editor's choice

Recommended by Prof. Brenda Banwell

Causes of death among persons with multiple sclerosis

Gary R. Cutter, Jeffrey Zimmerman, Amber R. Salter, et al.

Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, September 2015, Vol 4 Issue 5