MSIF has awarded the 2021 Young Investigator Award to Dr Giacomo Boffa (Genoa, Italy), in recognition of his research into aHSCT (autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation) in individuals with secondary progressive MS (SPMS).



The Young Investigator Award is given for the best oral presentation of a ‘translational’ project (i.e. research that is designed to improve health and wellbeing) by a young researcher at the annual congress of the European Committees for Treatment and Research into Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), which was held virtually this year.

The winner, who receives a £1,500 GBP prize, is selected by a panel appointed by MSIF. This panel is led by Prof Olga Ciccarelli who is a member of MSIF’s International Medical and Scientific Board.

Dr Boffa’s presentation was titled ‘Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Reduces Disability Progression In Patients With Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis: Results From The Italian MS Register’.

In this project, Dr Boffa used the Italian MS register to understand the effect of aHSCT compared to that of other immunotherapies on disability worsening in individuals with active secondary progressive MS (SPMS).

They found that aHSCT patients diagnosed with SPMS are more likely to experience a sustained disability improvement compared to other DMTs, in particular after 5 years after. The study included relatively young individuals with clinical activity during SPMS. Therefore these results are unlikely to relate to those with SPMS who do not have ongoing inflammation.

This study is important because it highlights a significant need to use anti-inflammatory treatment.

Watch the video to find out why Dr Boffa is excited about this award.