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Precision Medicine in MS – What Will it Take?

Blog Summary

I’ve just come back from an exciting meeting in Dallas hosted by ACTRIMS (Americas Committee for the Treatment and Research in MS).  The focus was precision medicine. It’s the idea of using a person’s genetic background, environment, lifestyle and other factors to develop a customized approach to treat MS.
 
More than 1200 clinicians, young investigators and seasoned researchers gathered to consider what precision medicine would look like for people with MS, and the challenges and opportunities in getting closer to precision medicine. If you’re interested, you can browse the summaries of the presentations here...

Emerging Therapies: From the Lab to the Clinic

Blog Summary

One of my takeaways from the 2018 ECTRIMS meeting this week is that there are thousands of researchers around the world working hard to figure out what’s going on in MS—from the very basic biology around what causes the damage to research around options for recovering functions. Some of this applied research is discussed in a blog my colleague Kathy wrote, focusing on the impacts of diet on MS. I was especially interested in seeing how basic research around what drives brain repair mechanisms is unearthing more and more targets that present new opportunities for finding key molecules or therapies that will promote nervous system repair...

Research News on Secondary Progressive MS from ECTRIMS

Blog Summary

​Greetings from London, England, on the final day of the very busy ECTRIMS meeting. There have been more than 1500 research study results presented over the last few days. If anyone wants to see the depth and breadth of the research, the abstracts (summaries of conference presentations) are freely available here. Also, I hope you’ll catch other blogs by my colleagues related to HSCT, progressive MS, gut microbiome and coming up on Monday, symptoms and rehab solutions.   Beyond formal presentations, I think the best part of conferences like this one are the hallway conversations and spontaneous meetings that often lead to new collaborations and ultimately, new breakthroughs. At a conference as focused as ECTRIMS, the exchanges are, “all MS, all the time.” ...

How does diet impact MS?

Blog Summary

It’s so interesting to see new studies on the potential impacts of diet on MS. Is there something people can eat, or stay away from, that would actually help make life with MS better? Studies presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) showcase this growing area of research, but did not all find positive results. That’s ok. All of these are arrows pointing us toward – or away from – solutions for people with MS. (Links are included to abstracts on the AAN site - access is free.) Walk down any grocery aisle and you’ll find products marketed as antioxidants.  Antioxidants block the action of “free radicals,” which are normal by-products of bodily processes that may cause tissue injury in MS. A poster presentation by Dr. Rebecca Spain and colleagues from Oregon Health & Science University reported promising results from a clinical trial of lipoic acid, an antioxidant supplement, in 51 people with secondary progressive MS... 

Promising Therapies on the Horizon for All Forms of MS

Blog Summary

There was a lot of excitement at ECTRIMS this week about the emergence of new treatment approaches for all forms of MS, even progressive. Earlier blog posts have already covered emerging therapies including stem cells, nervous system repair strategies and rehabilitation and wellness approaches. So this report focuses on results from experimental therapies that are well on their way to being available to people with MS. 

Finding faster, easier ways to measure MS

Blog Summary

When I was a lab researcher, it was all about digging deeper to find a specific scientific answer. But when it comes to helping people cope with their MS right now, we need to be able to find answers that don’t require so much digging. Emerging technologies and strategies are beginning to allow us to measure and predict the disease and its effects, and take stock of how treatments are working, without making people endure yet another invasive test. Now I find myself at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) meeting in Washington, DC.  It’s been fascinating to hear about the many clinicians and scientists who are working to devise quick tests to detect MS activity and damage – often before there are any outward signs that the individual or doctor can see...