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    Advancements in Multiple Sclerosis Research Hold Promise for Patients

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Feb. 26, 2014 — The future holds promise for multiple sclerosis research based on advancements of the past two decades according to a review from Mayo Clinic neurologists published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The paper states that many people with newly diagnosed or early stage MS are overwhelmed by the combination of uncertain prognosis and the often-unsettling prospect of starting preventive measures that are used indefinitely. However, the authors say that patients and physicians can benefit from an awareness of recent and emerging developments.

“MS is the second most common disabling disease of young adults - it is a lifelong disease with an unpredictable clinical course for the most part,” said Dean Wingerchuk, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and co-author of the review. “That means that people are challenged with making decisions about treatment. It’s important for both the patient and physicians to be aware of current and emerging therapies  to make appropriate decisions going forward.”

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Wingerchuk are available in the downloads.

Dr. Wingerchuk said that MS research has been prolific and that scientific advances in understanding the relapsing form of the disease have led to the recent development of several new treatments. There are currently 10 new approved MS therapies including the approval of three oral therapies since 2010. Dr. Wingerchuk added that there are many more promising treatments in the pipeline including exciting therapies that may promote repair of the nervous system. And it is likely that current and future therapies will eventually be used as part of a “personalized medicine” approach, with individual treatment decisions guided by predictive biomarkers and pharmacogenomics in addition to the patient’s own preferences.

“While current therapies provide both immediate options and hope for people there is still a lack of therapies that convincingly slow or halt progressive forms of the disease,” the paper says. “Fortunately, clinical investigators worldwide and organizations such as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society have focused their attention on these problems, promising even greater advances toward and beyond the horizon of the next decade.”


About Mayo Clinic
Recognizing 150 years of serving humanity in 2014, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit 150years.mayoclinic.org, www.mayoclinic.org and newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.

Jim McVeigh, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-4222,