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Study bid to predict MS severity

Nov 2015: Better ways of predicting disease activity in people with MS will be the focus of a new healthcare initiative.

Experts involved in the FutureMS study hope that it will assist doctors to prescribe the right medication, to the right person, at the right time.

Researchers will examine clinical, laboratory, and genomic factors that may influence the frequency of disease ‘relapses’; these affect around 85 per cent of people who have MS.

The nature and frequency of these attacks - which involve sudden onset of extreme symptoms that then fade - varies hugely between patients.

Consequently, individual treatment decisions are currently reactive rather than proactive.

Personalised treatments

People who have recently been diagnosed with relapsing-onset multiple sclerosis in Scotland will be invited to take part in the study.

It will be based at the University of Edinburgh’s Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic with clinical research hubs in Aberdeen, Dundee, and Glasgow.

Lead researcher Professor Siddharthan Chandran said it is vital that doctors are able to make personalised predictions about MS soon after it is diagnosed.

He added that the new venture would help both patients and doctors to plan care and make proactive choices about treatment.

MS is an unpredictable disease. Consequently the newly diagnosed are faced with uncertainty about what course “their” MS might take. This matters as knowing the likely trajectory of their MS will empower the individual to make more informed choices about potential treatment options as well as planning for their own life. Removing this uncertainty is the goal of FutureMS.

Professor ChandranMacDonald Professor of Neurology

Study enquiries

The Scotland-wide study is funded by Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre.

It is hoped 500 people with MS will contribute to the study.

Recruitment will likely begin in early 2016. For more information email future-ms@ed.ac.uk