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Ending the Disease Forever

END: A World Free of MS
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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 about 200 new MS risk genes, with funding from the National MS Society and others, and has begun to better define the biological pathways leading to MS. This research may ultimately lead to ways to prevent the disease and enhance the design of better treatments. 
  • Society-funded  researchers pinpointed genetic differences between African-Americans and Northern Europeans who have MS. 
  • A study by leading experts estimated that in 2017, nearly 1 million adults (up to 913,925) were living with MS in the United States. This is more than twice the previously reported number from a national study in 1975 and subsequent updates. The study was launched and supported by the National MS Society with the goal of determining the best way to develop a scientifically sound and economically feasible estimate of the number of people in the U.S. who have MS.
  • The International Multiple Sclerosis Microbiome Study, a multi-center team funded with a Collaborative MS Research Center Award, is conducting a comprehensive analysis of gut bacteria in people with MS to determine factors that may drive progression and help to develop probiotic strategies for stopping progression. 
  • The Society provides support 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. 

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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