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Researchers Seeking Black Americans with MS to Participate in Genetics Studies

February 12, 2024

Help Find Clues to the Cause and Treatment of MS
Researchers at the University of California MS Genetics Project are studying how MS affects Black Americans with MS. The university maintains a unique repository of DNA and other biological materials with the support of the National MS Society.

Why Does This Matter? New research shows that more Black people are diagnosed with MS than previously thought and that they may have a different disease course. Genes are known to play a role in determining who is susceptible to developing MS and may also influence the severity and course of the disease. Identifying the exact location of MS genes could help determine who is at risk for developing the disease and may provide clues to its cause, prevention, and better treatment.
Focusing on Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Northern European, and other ancestral groups, and searching for what is common and what is different in their DNA sequences may help identify the precise genetic variants that contribute to MS.

What is involved?  It is not necessary to travel to San Francisco to participate in this study. Once an individual has completed the initial online intake form and has agreed to participate, they are emailed the links to two additional online forms and sent a kit via express mail.

The kit includes a consent form, a health information privacy form, and a medical records release form. The kit also includes everything necessary for the blood draw, which can be taken to your local Quest Diagnostics Lab, where the blood can be drawn and then returned in a prepaid envelope to the UCSF MS Genetics Lab. There is no cost to the study participants. 

Individuals recently diagnosed with MS living in the San Francisco Bay Area are also eligible to participate in an MRI study to identify relationships between genetic profiles and tissue damage in the brain and spinal cord.

Please note: this study cannot enroll international participants at this time.

To participate or request additional information, please complete this brief intake survey.

OR you may contact the UCSF DNA directly:
Clinical Research Coordinator
UCSF Multiple Sclerosis Genetic Susceptibility Project
675 Nelson Rising Lane, Suite 235A, Box 3206
San Francisco, CA 94158

Learn More…
MS in the Black Community
Black MS Experience Program Series
Ask an MS Expert: Impacts of MS on the Black Community

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society, founded in 1946, is the global leader of a growing movement dedicated to creating a world free of MS. The Society funds cutting-edge research for a cure, drives change through advocacy and provides programs and services to help people affected by MS live their best lives. Connect to learn more and get involved:, Facebook, X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or 1-800-344-4867.


© 2024 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.