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Collaborators Uncover New Interaction Between Genes That Increases the Risk of Getting MS

April 13, 2017

A team of collaborators at Duke University, the University of Texas Medical Branch, Case Western Reserve University and the University of California, Berkeley recently published results that identify a new interaction between genes – one previously known and one not previously suspected – that may alter immune activity and increase the risk of getting MS.
Research suggests that MS occurs in individuals and in families whose genes make them susceptible, and that many genes contribute to MS susceptibility. Pinpointing and understanding “MS genes” will provide a key to the cause of MS and how to prevent it, and provide potential targets for developing better therapies. So far about 200 genetic variants have been associated with MS. Most of them implicate genes associated with immune system function.
Investigators like this team, supported in part by the National MS Society, have been engaged in examining the role of specific genes to understand the biological processes they control and how they contribute to susceptibility. This new finding, if confirmed by additional research, contributes an important insight into how genes can influence each other’s activity to make a person more susceptible to MS. 
Read an article about the study in Science Daily
Read an abstract of the paper in the journal Cell

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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