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Monday, October 22, 2012

Setting new standards in multiple sclerosis care and research


October 2012
In the run up to the 2012 European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) meeting in Lyon, France, two important new multiple sclerosis (MS) initiatives are making progress. The International Collaborative on Progressive MS published its agenda of research priorities in late August, while the European MS Platform (EMSP) is due to roll out the next stage of MS Nurse Professional (MS Nurse PRO), a programme to standardise training for MS nurses across Europe, in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of September. Despite taking very different approaches, these initiatives have the potential to benefit many of the estimated 2·5 million people worldwide who have MS.
About 10—15% of people with MS present with primary progressive disease and 80% of the rest develop secondary progressive MS within 20 years. But, despite relative success in the development of treatments for relapsing-remitting MS, the options for people with progressive MS remain limited and a breakthrough is desperately needed. The International Collaborative on Progressive MS, a group of researchers and representatives of MS patient societies from Europe and North America, has the ultimate goal of expediting the development of disease-modifying and symptomatic treatments. In its research agenda, the Collaborative outlines five priority areas for research: experimental models, identification and validation of therapeutic targets, strategies for proof-of-concept clinical trials, clinical outcome measures, and symptom management and rehabilitation. Working groups are now looking at how to overcome the barriers to progress in these areas, and a call to the wider MS research community to collaborate on ongoing and new projects to address these challenges is planned for 2013.

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