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Experts Agree on Pathways to MS Cures

March 25, 2022

A global collaboration led by the National MS Society is focusing on the most promising research to cure multiple sclerosis for every person affected by the disease. Just as the experience of living with MS is different for every person, every person’s cure for MS may be different.
 
Multiple Sclerosis JournalThe Pathways to Cures for MS Research Roadmap, which outlines the research needed to reach these cures, has been published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.
 
“Curing MS is within our reach,” said Bruce Bebo, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Research at the National MS Society, and lead author on this paper. “And when we talk about curing MS, we’re talking about curing MS for everyone. The roadmap, now endorsed by over 20 national and international MS organizations, will drive progress by increasing alignment and focus of global resources on high priority research questions.”
 
The research is focused on three distinct — yet overlapping pathways: stopping MS disease activity, restoring function by reversing damage and symptoms and ending MS by preventing new cases.
 
Explore each pathway at pathwaystocures.org
 
In this roadmap, the National MS Society outlines the research needed to: 
  • Reduce or eliminate the impact of MS before symptoms appear through early detection.
  • Prevent worsening of quality of life and prevent disease progression for each person with MS through precision medicine. 
  • Improve tissue repair to reverse or slow MS progression and improve symptoms.
  • Implement rehabilitation and symptom management strategies to restore function, reverse MS symptoms and enhance quality of life.
  • Prevent MS before it occurs by limiting exposure to MS risk factors in the general population.
  • Reduce or eliminate the impact of MS before onset of signs/symptoms by identifying pre-clinical MS in the high-risk population.
 Authors of the paper highlight the need to increase participation of underrepresented groups in MS research. The lack of diversity in MS research is a critical issue limiting progress.

This roadmap is designed to be a starting point for a dialogue among MS organizations. The authors encourage MS research funders and advocates to seek more opportunities to collaborate on research that addresses the areas targeted in the roadmap. The National MS Society has already begun supporting research projects aligned to this to help drive progress in these critical pathways.
 
An initiative this scale requires significant early momentum and leadership. The National MS Society is grateful for the support of our Pathways to Cures Lead Investors – Kathleen and Jim Skinner, Laura Larson, Cathy and Bill Onufrychuk, and an anonymous donor – who have collectively contributed $13 million to bring this roadmap to the world and inspire action. “We are pleased to be at the front of this incredible work and have confidence that the National MS Society has what it takes to provide leadership in the global MS movement,” said Kathleen and Jim Skinner.

Pathways to Cures for Multiple Sclerosis Research Roadmap,” by B.F. Bebo, M. Allegretta, D. Landsman, K.M. Zackowski, F. Brabazon, W.A. Kostich, T. Coetzee, A. Ng, R.A. Marrie, KR Monk, A. Bar-Or, and C.C. Whitacre on behalf of the National MS Society’s Scientific Advisory Committee and Pathways to Cures Roadmap Task Force, is published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.
 
This is an open-access paper and can accessed in full by anyone.

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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© 2022 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.