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Ten-Year Followup of People with Suspicious MRIs without MS Symptoms (“RIS”) Suggests Half Develop MS

July 7, 2020

In a global study of 451 people described as having “radiologically isolated syndrome” (RIS, a rare phenomenon in which people with no symptoms of MS have MRI scans that show specific areas of MS-like damage), 51.2% went on to develop MS within ten years. Several factors made some more likely to develop MS, so further defining these factors should help guide decisions about whether treating specific people with RIS is justified. Trials are now underway in people with RIS to determine if disease-modifying therapies will prevent or delay the development of MS. 
  • A global team of collaborators has been tracking people with RIS to see which go on to develop MS, and whether there is a way to predict this outcome in advance to guide treatment decisions.
  • In this study, factors associated with increased risk of later developing MS included younger age, having signs of spinal fluid proteins known as “oligoclonal bands,” having MRI lesions in the spinal cord or lower back part of the brain (infratentorial), and newly active lesions on follow-up MRI scans.
  • Trials underway or planned in people with RIS include one testing teriflunomide (Aubagio®, Genzyme Sanofi) that is recruiting outside of the U.S., one testing dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera®, Biogen) that is ongoing and no longer recruiting, and one testing a tuberculosis vaccine that is planned in Italy.
 “Radiologically Isolated Syndrome: 10‐Year Risk Estimate of a Clinical Event” by Christine Lebrun‐Frenay MD, PhD (Nice Cote d’Azur University) and colleagues was published June 4, 2020 in Annals of Neurology.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. 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. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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