‘Research on progressive MS is advancing, with the first modest treatment success recently reported and more paths opening for understanding what’s driving the disease, but with many challenges remaining.’
This was the take-home message of the Second Scientific Congress of the International Alliance of Progressive MS, held in San Francisco in May. More than 200 researchers and supporters gathered to review progress in research, the challenges faced and how to accelerate the development of therapies for progressive MS.
MS International Federation is a managing member of the Progressive MS Alliance, which is a collaboration of MS organisations who have made a commitment to speed up the development of treatment for progressive MS by removing scientific and technology barriers.
Topics discussed included:
What’s driving progression? More clues emerge.
Although it is not clear what causes MS, headway is being made toward understanding how the damage done to the nervous system leads to the loss of nerve cells and progressive disability.
Repair and recovery.
The brain naturally reacts to the damage of MS in a number of ways, such as by repairing nerve-insulating myelin, and by compensating for damage through reorganization and plasticity, where other parts of the brain take over. Participants noted that these recovery mechanisms may be enhanced to improve function in MS.
Clinical trials: how to push forward?
Despite the first positive results from a large-scale clinical trial in primary progressive MS (announced in fall 2015 from a trial of ocrelizumab), many agreed that more successes are needed to change the lives of people living with progressive MS.
Emerging opportunities / new horizons
You can read the summary report from the meeting on the Progressive MS Alliance website