Monday, December 12, 2011

From the Frontlines: What’s New in MS Research for 2012

Chief Research Officer, National MS Society

I’m having a hard time believing it’s December already! This has been a very busy year, but it’s not over yet.  Today is day one of a 2-day, international summit we’ve convened to explore whether it’s possible to PREVENT MS using vitamin D. This is just one big idea in a year that has seen progress in every aspect of the search to STOP progression, RESTORE function and END MS forever.

It’s fitting in December to think back over the year and anticipate the next. I’m very pleased that tomorrow evening, December 13th, I get to do just that. I’m going to sit down with four very savvy experts and talk about progress that’s occurred this year in MS research. Two of them will have just come from the vitamin D summit.

Sound intriguing? You’re welcome to join us for this LIVE WEBCAST–go here for details. Our panelists bring expertise in a wide range of topics, including MS therapies, the role of vitamin D and the immune system in MS, the promise of cell therapy, CCSVI and prospects for repairing the nervous system. We’ll also hear their predictions for MS breakthroughs we’ll see in 2012.

Did you know you can post real-time or advance questions for the panelists?

What a year it’s been!  If you want to read more, check out this summary of 2011 progress on our website. And I look forward to fielding your questions during tomorrow’s webcast!


  1. Thanks for all the work you do.

    Today there's huge news in MS world: a new paper from the Quarterly Review of Biology titled "Multiple sclerosis is not a disease of the immune system," by Dr. Angelique Corthals.

    It argues--convincingly--that MS is a metabolic disorder, like atherosclerosis. The implications are stunning.

    The press release from Corthals lab at John Jay is here.

    My first-look blog post has a more detailed précis of the science here. It also has the author, Dr. Corthals, answering questions live.

  2. A paper by biologic/forensic anthropologist Angelique Corthals, PhD, of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was recently published in the scholarly journal The Quarterly Review of Biology. This paper puts forth a hypothesis about biological activities, and in particular lipids, which may lead to multiple sclerosis. Dr. Corthals’s paper adds to ongoing discussion about what causes MS, but since it is a review of published research, rather than results from original studies, the report carefully notes the need for more research.

    We welcome the ideas of thoughtful people who want to end MS, and fully agree that we need to pursue all promising leads to do so. Society-funded researchers, some of whom are mentioned in this paper, are already pursuing aspects of MS pathology outlined in Dr. Corthals’s paper. These include the possible involvement of oxidative damage, peroxisomes and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), lipids as possible targets or triggers of inflammation, as well as many other aspects of the complex processes involved in multiple sclerosis.

    Among the 350 or more worldwide research projects the Society is currently funding to stop MS progression, restore function, and end MS forever, is a clinical trial getting started at the Oregon Health & Science University testing potential benefits of the anti-oxidant lipoic acid. Additionally, a trial by the National Institutes of Health is testing another anti-oxidant called Idebenone in people with primary-progressive MS.

    It’s a great sign that so many people from multi-research specialties are focusing efforts to unravel the mysteries that have always surrounded the disease multiple sclerosis.