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A worldwide alliance to tackle MS progression

Lynn Duffy

We’re at the heart of a global network speeding up new treatments for progressive MS.

MS charities from around the world have come together to support research into MS progression on a global scale. Between them, the organisations that have formed the International Progressive MS Alliance are supporting over 600 projects worth £161 million. And over £115 million of this is directed at tackling progressive MS.

Research Network member Ronnie Green spoke with neurologist Professor Raj Kapoor, who sits on the Alliance’s Scientific Steering Committee, about what’s being achieved.

Progressive MS often feels left behind when you see all the success there’s been with finding treatments for relapsing MS. Why do you think that is?

There’s actually been a huge amount of work done around progressive MS. And what became clear is that understanding MS progression is an incredibly complex area of research, potentially much tougher than understanding what happens during MS relapses. 

We realised we need to take a highly focused and coordinated approach if we’re to solve the problem of progressive MS.

So what is the Alliance?

The Alliance started when a small number of MS charities, including the MS Society, came together to solely focus people on the problem of MS progression.

That was about five years ago. The Alliance has grown considerably in that time. There are now around 18 organisations across the globe, all united in their aim to speed up the development of treatments for progressive MS.

What’s it achieved so far?

To get effective treatments for progressive MS, we need to understand how progression happens, to develop better and faster clinical trials, and to test the drugs that look promising. The Alliance is working in two main ways to achieve this:

  • connecting people around the world to pool their expertise and work together
  • giving large international grants to networks of researchers to test out their ideas and move us closer to stopping MS.

It’s been great to see the momentum that’s been building because of the work of the Alliance. Discussions are happening, collaborations are forming, and results are coming through.

Sounds great! What’s next?

The Alliance is growing all the time, working to deliver treatments for progressive MS. We’re also getting the ball rolling on a big project to improve access to targeted and effective rehabilitation for MS symptoms.

For progressive MS, everyone wants to crack the problem. A lot of people have some really good ideas on how to do this, and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen.

> Find out more about the Alliance