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Thursday, June 5, 2014

International committee re-defines how multiple sclerosis is described and understood

posted by news on june 4, 2014 

Multiple sclerosis manifests itself in many different ways and different courses. A recent effort to fine-tune descriptions – or phenotypes -- of MS was undertaken by an international team of leaders in MS research and clinical care. The results of this effort by the International Advisory Committee on Clinical Trials in MS, including recommendations for more research, has just been published (Neurology 2014;83:1). The volunteer Committee is jointly supported by the National MS Society and the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ECTRIMS).

"Having better definitions of different types of MS would greatly facilitate research studies, communications between people with MS and their healthcare providers, and treatment decisions," noted Timothy Coetzee, PhD, Chief Advocacy, Services and Research Officer of the National MS Society.

In 1996 the Committee had developed consensus around descriptions of the courses of MS to facilitate research in MS and so that researchers and clinicians around the world would have a common understanding of the types of MS discussed in publications and in the clinic. This consensus highlighted four courses of MS -- relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive, primary progressive, and progressive relapsing. While these descriptions of MS have become well-established, understanding of MS has advanced, prompting a re-evaluation of the course of MS and any biological signposts (such as blood markers or imaging) that might help refine these phenotypes.

After a thorough search of the medical literature and convening an international workshop funded by collaborators worldwide (National MS Society, ECTRIMS, Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in MS, MS International Federation, and MS Society of Canada), the Committee published recommendations that modify prior clinical course descriptions. The Committee recommended retaining major courses of MS – relapsing-remitting, secondary-progressive and primary progressive -- but recommended categorizing progressive relapsing as an active form of primary progressive MS.



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