Damage repair and Fatigue are MS Research Priorities, says Society
The UK's leading multiple sclerosis charity says more research is needed
into repairing the damage caused in MS as well as finding the drugs to
Speaking ahead of national MS Week next month, Mike O'Donovan, chief
executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, said, "Although we now have
drugs which can reduce the severity and frequency of MS attacks, they are
only suitable for about one in 10 of the 85,000 people in the UK who are
usually struck by the disease in the prime of life.
"We must go on looking for more effective drugs to treat symptoms but
there is increasing hope that a way can be found to mend the damage and
stop long-term disability developing."
The Society has identified damage repair as a priority in its own research
grant funding programme. It recently made a grant of ¬£250,000 to see if
adult stem cells can repair the damage to the myelin coating which
protects the brain and spinal cord. This leads in turn to damage to the
nerve fibres causing a wide range of disabilities.
Mr O'Donovan said another focus for Society funding was research into
fatigue. "Nine out of 10 people with MS are affected by fatigue and half
of them say it is their worst symptom. It means people can be so exhausted
they can‚t do their job properly or even enjoy playing with their
children. We need to understand more about fatigue so better ways of
treating and managing it can be developed.
"Increased funding is crucial. We have earmarked ¬£1 million this year for
grants for new research into repair and fatigue and we are already
committed to spending more than ¬£11 million on around 50 other research
projects. Without more funds we shall not be able to afford many of the
high quality project applications we are receiving which could bring us
closer to eliminating this dreadful illness."