Edinburgh clinic to revolutionise MS treatment

Published: 18 February 2016

Edinburgh scientists from the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at Edinburgh BioQuarter are embarking on a groundbreaking study that could revolutionise the way multiple sclerosis (MS) is treated.

The ‘Future MS’ study is the first of its kind and the clinic is part-funded by Harry Potter author, JK Rowling.

Professor Chandran of the University of Edinburgh is looking into severity of MS symptoms and how/if they could be predicted. Currently there is no way to predict the severity of a newly diagnosed neurological condition and the study will allow clinicians to work out how best to treat patients.

Scotland has one of the highest incidences of the disease in the world, with around 10,000 people suffering from the condition, which occurs when the protective coating surrounding nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord is damaged or destroyed.

Professor Siddharthan Chandran, clinic director and professor of neurology, at the Anne Rowling Centre, said: “The newly diagnosed person with MS doesn’t know the natural history of how their disease will progress. No two people are the same, and the outcome is crucial to how they plan their lives and how they will be treated by their doctor.

“Some drugs with harsher side effects could be suitable for someone with severe MS, but if symptoms are mild then a doctor may take a different view on whether to use the treatment. It is about creating personalised medicine.

“There are 11 individual drugs that can be used to treat multiple sclerosis. At the moment we use clinical judgement to decide what course of treatment someone will have. But now, with the emergence of new tools, imaging and blood genetic testing, we will be able to, in time, work out how best to treat patients.”

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