Shining the spotlight on MS

Putting the spotlight on multiple sclerosis (MS), 30 May 2023 is World MS Day.

According to MS Australia, the number of Australians with MS rose by 30% from 2017-2021 making it more important than ever to increase awareness and funding for research into treatments and possibly a cure.

“We have advanced MS care enormously in the last 10 years. The biggest area of need is treatments for progressive MS,” says Professor Helmut Butzkueven, Monash University Central Clinical School Department of Neuroscience Head, MSBase Foundation Managing Director, and Alfred Health Director of Neurology.

“We need to unlock the huge basic research efforts in the last 10 years and turn them into new treatment trials to stop and reverse MS disability.

“To open up the trials, we need better ways of measuring MS. We need to create the right infrastructure so all people with MS who can and want to work together on this challenge are enabled and free to do so, no matter where in Australia they live.”

Associate Professor Mastura Monif, Neurologist (Alfred Health) and Monash Department of Neuroscience Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Neuroimmunology, Neuroinflammation and Neurological Diseases Group, says “MS can vary from individual to individual” with the “majority of those with MS have a relapsing-remitting type of disease”.

“This is associated with acute worsening of neurological symptoms – disease flare-ups. Currently, we do not have very accurate biomarkers to distinguish MS flare-up from remission and our team’s research focuses on that,” says Associate Professor Monif.

“We are aiming to identify markers in the blood of patients with MS during relapse that would help us distinguish relapse from remission.

“These markers once identified can assist with disease diagnosis as well as improve our knowledge for future development of targeted therapies to combat MS relapse effectively and safely.

“MS can be challenging, and some days can be harder than others for those affected by this condition.

“For us clinicians, it’s important to provide comprehensive and holistic care and to remember that MS impacts can be wide-reaching for the individual, their caregivers and the whole community.

“Our team’s research and clinical work is inspired by those affected by MS.

“Our patients with MS are the reason we work so hard to not only improve clinical care but also research in MS. Our utmost aims are to reduce the burden of disease for those affected by this condition by improving current knowledge and treatments.”

For more about World MS Day, visit: