Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre

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Multiple sclerosis: Prospects and promise.

Hauser SL, Chan JR, Oksenberg JR.

Ann Neurol. 2013 Aug 16. doi: 10.1002/ana.24009. [Epub ahead of print] 

We have entered a golden era in multiple sclerosis (MS) research. Two decades ago, our understanding of the disease was largely descriptive and there were no approved therapies to modify the natural history of MS. Today, delineation of immune pathways relevant to MS have been clarified; a comprehensive map of genes that influence risk compiled; clues to environmental triggers identified; noninvasive in vivo monitoring of the MS disease process has been revolutionized by high-field MRI; and many effective therapies for the early, relapsing, component of MS now exist. However, major challenges remain. We still have no useful treatment for progressive MS (the holy grail of MS research), no means to repair injured axons or protect neurons, and extremely limited evidence to guide treatment decisions. Recent advances have set in place a foundation for development of increasingly selective immunotherapy for patients; application of genetic and genomic discoveries to improve therapeutic options; development of remyelination or neuroprotection therapies for progressive MS; and integrating clinical, imaging and genomic data for personalized medicine. MS has now advanced from the backwaters of autoimmune disease research to the front-line, and definitive answers, including cures, are now realistic goals for the next decade. Many of the breakthrough discoveries in MS have also resulted from meaningful interactions across disciplines, and especially from translational and basic scientists working closely with clinicians, highlighting that the clinical value of discoveries are most often revealed when ideas developed in the laboratory are tested at the bedside.

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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

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

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