“On World MS Day, my thoughts go to the 2.8 million people living with the disease and their families and carers. I have learned a lot of lessons from them, the most important of which is never to give up.”
– Prof. Cris S Constantinescu, Neurologist, Cooper Neurological Institute, Cherry Hill, NJ, USA & Emeritus Professor, Academic Unit of Mental Health and Clinical Neuroscience, University of Nottingham, UK
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong disease that causes the immune system to attack the lining that protects the nerve fibres (myelin) in the central nervous system. This damage prevents messages from travelling easily between the brain and the body, causing debilitating symptoms with vision, memory, balance and emotions.
While there’s currently no cure, treatments are available to manage the condition. As Prof. Cris S Constantinescu of University of Nottingham notes:
“The perspectives of living with MS are more optimistic than ever. There have been great advances in diagnosis and treatment, both of which can be sped up. Emerging prognostic biomarkers increasingly allow tailoring the treatment to the predicted outcome.”
This progress is symptom- and form-dependant, however, meaning:
“Much work is still needed … in the management of progressive forms, including regenerative therapies, and in the treatment of symptoms, including cognitive dysfunction, where – paradoxically – the progress has been slower.
Early disease-modifying therapy will likely prevent the development of symptoms, but symptoms remain a challenge for the many who already experience them daily.”
So, while there have been exciting advances in the science, there’s lots more work to do.
That’s why every year, World MS Day is celebrated on 30 May.
Coordinated by the MS International Federation and its members, their global awareness campaign #MSConnections encourages people to share their stories, spread the word through posters and the Connections toolkit, and – importantly – fundraise to help accelerate progression of life-changing MS therapies.
Prof. Cris S. Constantinescu is enthusiastic about where greater awareness and funding is taking MS treatments:
“We can now start talking more seriously about MS prevention. There is real optimism that reducing environmental risk factors (vaccination against the Epstein Barr virus, education to prevent smoking, vitamin D supplementation, healthy diet) combined with early effective treatment can lead to a quasi-eradication of MS.”
Discover some of the recent advances in MS therapy below:
- Dr Jiwon Oh discusses the phase 2b trial, investigating safety and efficacy of tolebrutinib in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis.
- Prof. Bruce Cree discusses the potential use of bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors (BTKis) in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
- Prof. Kerstin Hellwig discusses the current recommendations regarding MS treatment during pregnancy, recent research investigating the discontinuation of therapy before and during pregnancy, and the safety of MS therapies during breastfeeding.
touchNEUROLOGY supports World MS Day and its campaign to raise awareness for people living with MS, their families, friends and carers, and to support fundraising for new treatments. Explore our library of video interviews, conference highlights, journal articles, and clinical trial updates to learn more.
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