Top 10 MS research priorities identified

Published date: 12 Sep 2013 at 11:01AM

The MS Society, in partnership with the James Lind Alliance, has identified the top 10 research questions that matter most to people affected by MS and healthcare professionals.

After a year of extensively canvassing the views of a wide range of people, over a thousand questions were narrowed down to the top 10:

  1. Which treatments are effective to slow, stop or reverse the accumulation of disability associated with MS?
  2. How can MS be prevented?
  3. Which treatments are effective for fatigue in people with MS?
  4. How can people with MS be best supported to self-manage their condition?
  5. Does early treatment with aggressive disease modifying drugs improve the prognosis for people with MS?
  6. Is Vitamin D supplementation an effective disease modifying treatment for MS?
  7. Which treatments are effective to improve mobility for people with MS?
  8. Which treatments are effective to improve cognition in people with MS?
  9. Which treatments are effective for pain in people with MS?
  10. Is physiotherapy effective in reducing disability in people with MS?

Finding the answers

We are now working to ensure these priorities are addressed. As it stands, 75 per cent of our current research reflects priorities in the top 10, which is a great start. For example we are funding MS-SMART, a ground-breaking clinical trial investigating whether three drugs can alter progression in people with secondary progressive MS

These priorities will complement our existing research strategy. We will continue to support research into the causes of MS, and treatments and care for people affected by MS.

Previous partnerships using this process in other conditions have a track record of turning priorities into research projects by securing other funding. This is encouraging news and we will work to make this happen with the MS top 10.

Why did we do this? 

Since 1956, we have invested over £144 million of today’s money in research. This has advanced our understanding of MS, improved diagnosis and supported the development of treatments such as Botox for bladder problems and alemtuzumab, which may soon be licensed for people with relapsing-remitting MS.  

Until we find a cure, we’ll continue to fund world-class research to develop the treatments and services that people with MS need. 

But the field of MS research is vast, as is the number of projects that could be funded, and we need to support research that matters most.

Thank you to everybody who contributed to the process – this wouldn’t have happened without you.

Page tagged with:
Page last updated: 12 Sep 2013
Funding research that is relevant to people affected by MS is at the heart of our research programme, so we are delighted to have been through this process and have this list of questions – the questions that matter the most.
Ed Holloway, Head of Care and Services Research at the MS Society
We want to build on the success of our research programme by doing our utmost to turn these priorities into research projects, whether funded by ourselves or by other funders. It’s wonderful that we now have evidence to encourage other funders to take note of these priorities.
Susan Kohlhaas, Head of Biomedical Research at the MS Society

What's new?