Challenge of progressive multiple sclerosis therapy

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Purpose of review

Understanding the mechanisms underlying progression in multiple sclerosis (MS) and identifying appropriate therapeutic targets is a key challenge facing the MS community. This challenge has been championed internationally by organizations such as the Progressive MS Alliance, which has raised the profile of progressive MS and identified the key obstacles to treatment. This review will outline the considerable progress against these challenges.

Recent findings

New insights into mechanisms underlying progression have opened up potential therapeutic opportunities. This has been complemented by ongoing validation of clinical and imaging outcomes for Phase II trials of progression, coupled with the development of innovative trial designs. The field has been greatly encouraged by recent positive Phase III trials in both primary and secondary progressive MS, albeit with modest benefit. Early trials of neuroprotection and repair have provided important new data with which to drive the field. Improving symptom management and advancing rehabilitation approaches, critical for this patient population which, taken together with identifying and managing comorbidities and risk factors, has an appreciable impact on health-related quality of life.


Raising the profile of progressive MS has resulted in the first effective treatments with the promise of more to come.

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