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International Progressive MS Alliance

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International Progressive MS Alliance

More than 2.3 million people worldwide currently live with MS. More than half, over 1 million people, live with a progressive form of MS.

Progressive multiple sclerosis is a form of MS that gets worse over time. Each day, progressive MS takes things away from people: vision, mobility, cognition, ability to work, and their very independence. Despite advances in other forms of MS, there is only one FDA approved treatment for progressive MS. 

In this article

Life with Progressive MS

Kerrie, diagnosed in 2008

People with progressive MS now have hope for the future because of the work of the International Progressive MS Alliance.

Case management resources made possible in part by the Edward M. Dowd personal advocate program.

Ending progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) is an urgent and unmet worldwide need.  People living with this often debilitating form of multiple sclerosis face uncertainty, losing ground each day as they experience steadily worsening symptoms and a loss of myriad functions, which can cause a sense of helplessness.  Recently, there has been scientific progress with the emergence of the very first therapy(ies) for progressive disease; these will be effective only for some.  More must be done so that EVERYONE has an effective treatment available. 
The International Progressive MS Alliance is ensuring that more will be done, fueling awareness, understanding and research collaboration.  People with progressive disease now have hope for the future.

The International Progressive MS Alliance

The International Progressive MS Alliance is a growing global initiative to end progressive MS. The Alliance began by bringing together the world’s leading experts in multiple sclerosis to identify the critical knowledge and treatment gaps where progress must be made to achieve breakthroughs necessary to change the world for people with progressive MS.


  •  On February 13 the Alliance broadcast a webinar with Dr. Francisco Quintana from Harvard University/Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Quintana is leading research to identify and evaluate drugs that protect the brain from damage in progressive MS.

    As an innovator and leader, the Alliance is funding essential, first-of-its kind global research networks, engaging the best experts, such as Dr. Quintana, to lay the groundwork over the next 4 years for new treatments and clinical trials. Dr. Quintana’s research is highlighted as well as the other international research supported by the Alliance, which is aiming to reduce the time and cost of getting therapies ready for clinical trials.

    With leadership from the National MS Society, the Alliance is transforming the MS landscape, in an unprecedented global collaboration of MS organizations, researchers, clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, and people living with progressive MS. The Alliance continues to raise the profile and underline the unmet need of progressive MS, rallying the global community to come together and find solutions. 


  • $14.1 Awarded to 3 Projects in Unprecedented Global Effort to End Progressive MS
  • Research on progressive MS is advancing, with the first modest treatment success recently reported and more paths opening for understanding what’s driving the disease, but with many challenges remaining. That was the take-home message from the International Progressive MS Alliance’s Second Scientific Congress, held this past May in San Francisco.
  • In June, Genentech, a member of the Roche group announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for review the company’s Biologics License Application (BLA) for OCREVUS™ (ocrelizumab) for the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), and granted the application Priority Review Designation with a targeted action date of December 28, 2016.


  • Eighty scientists and clinicians from around the world were convened in Boston by the Alliance to discuss what is known and not known about the chain of events and mechanisms leading to progressive MS.
  • The second Request for Applications for planning grants to support Collaborative Network Awards closed in early 2015 resulting in applications for 52 different networks involving 480 researchers from around the world. The Scientific Steering Committee of the Alliance is evaluating all proposals and will determine awards for these Planning Grants later this summer. Applicants will be accepted from Planning Grant recipients in mid-2016 and grants for the Collaborative Network Awards will be awarded in late 2016.
  • Read the Alliance's 2015 Progress Report.
  • In 2014 the first global Request for Applications for the Challenge Awards generated 195 responses from 21 different countries; 22 were awarded by the Alliance
  • A global progressive MS research portfolio has been developed to understand where and in what area current research is underway.
  • Alliance Member financial commitments for research is now at a total € 19.5 million (2015)
  • The Alliance has established and conducted two Industry Forum meetings, engaging industry stakeholders in moving solutions forward as Alliance members.

The Alliance is Driving Progress in 3 Important Ways

1. Global Leadership – ensuring that research is:
  • Focused on barriers to treatment development
  • Integrated across the MS community
  • Systematically measured and refined
2. Innovation – Leveraging research already underway and stimulating new research and breakthroughs through a significant grants program.

3. Funding – Drive worldwide resources to fund the best research, wherever it may be, and unleash the research community to accelerate results with the most impact and potential.

Members of the Alliance

The International Progressive MS Alliance continues to grow and expand. The Alliance is a global effort and today the members are:


  • MS Society of Australia
  • MS Society of Canada
  • Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association
  • MS International Federation
  • MS Society UK
  • National MS Society


  • MS Society of Belgium
  • Scleroseforeningen
  • German Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Multiple Sclerosis Spain
  • Stichting MS Research

The members of the Alliance fund the research and drive the work of the Alliance including fundraising, research, communications etc. Learn more about the International Progressive MS Alliance.


© 2020 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.