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The Latest Investigations on Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis Research on MRI

New tools such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) have redefined the natural history of MS and are extremely valuable in monitoring disease activity. Scientists are now able to see and monitor the development of MS lesions in the brain and spinal cord using MRI. This is a tremendous aid in the assessment of new therapies and can speed up the process of evaluating new treatments.

Multiple Sclerosis Research on Other Tools

Other tools have been developed that make it possible to tease out the disease's genetic secrets. Such studies have strengthened scientists' belief that MS is a disease with many genetic components, not just one. Scientists have identified immune system-related genetic factors that can make a person more likely to develop MS. This knowledge may lead to new ways to treat or prevent the disease.

Researching Multiple Sclerosis Medications

Research has led to a treatment that may actually slow down the course of the disease, and a growing number of therapies are now available to effectively treat some MS symptoms. In addition, there are a number of treatments under investigation that may reduce attacks or improve the function of demyelinated nerve fibers. Over a dozen clinical trials testing potential therapies are underway, and additional new treatments are being devised and tested in animals.

Multiple Sclerosis Research on Unknown Factors

The role of genetic risk factors, and how they can be modified, must be more clearly understood. Environmental triggers, such as viruses or toxins, need to be investigated further as well. The specific cellular and subcellular targets of immune attacks in the brain and spinal cord -- and the different types of T cells involved in the attack -- need to be identified.
Understanding these aspects of the disease will help scientists to develop new methods for stopping -- or reversing and repairing -- the destruction of myelin that causes the symptoms of MS.
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