Ending the Disease Forever - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Ending the Disease Forever

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We simply will not stop until we discover the cause of MS and can prevent it from affecting future generations, so that no one will ever again hear the words “You have MS.”

Progress has made identifying some factors that may combine to increase a person’s chances of developing MS, such as specific genes, infections, and lifestyle factors. None of these factors is a single cause of the disease, and it’s clear that not everyone who has MS has been exposed to these factors, nor that everyone who is exposed to these factors will develop MS. These clues provide insights that may ultimately lead to ways to prevent the disease. For example:

  • A global consortium identified 48 new MS risk genes, with funding from the National MS Society and others, which better define the biological pathways leading to MS and may ultimately lead to ways to prevent the disease and enhance the design of better treatments. Read more
  • Society-funded  researchers pinpointed genetic differences between African-Americans and Northern Europeans who have MS. Read more
  • The Society recruited experts to launch the MS Prevalence Work Group, and engaged a consulting group, to begin work that will provide an updated estimate of MS prevalence in the US
  • The Society is working with investigatos in the SUMMIT Study -- a team of international collaborators who have tested the feasibility of tracking a large number of people with MS over time at multiple medical centers in the US and Europe. They have been collecting uniform data (including clinical, MRI, blood, and genetics) and epidemiological information. The consortium has shown this is a feasible study, and the Society is now working with the team to determine next steps and sustainability.
  • The Society launched new research funding totaling $2.5 million for an expanded Network of Pediatric MS Centers and data coordination hub, which can be leveraged to answer important research questions to advance our understanding of the disease in both children and adults with MS. One effort undertaken by this network is a study of what triggers MS in children. Read more

Ending MS means no one will ever get this disease again. That means we need to find the cause of MS, what triggers it, and what may protect against it. Here’s how:

  • Aggressively pursue studies to identify all common MS-related genes, because genes make people susceptible to MS – so that we can answer how it is triggered and how it could be prevented
  • Better understand what factors in the environment influence whether a person gets MS
  • Identify possible infectious triggers for MS

Learn more about our successes and goals for ending MS forever.

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