Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by demyelination, axonal loss and the formation of sclerotic plaques. It usually starts at ages 20-40 years and is one of the most common reasons for neurological handicap, next after trauma.
The disease is characterized by inflammatory processes restricted to the central nervous system and is considered as an autoimmune disease. MS can be divided into different disease courses where the relapsing remitting disease (RRMS) is the most common, affecting 85-90% of the patients. These patients experience relapses of neurological symptoms followed by complete or partial recovery. RRMS patients can later convert into a more progressive form of disease, so called secondary progressive (SPMS) where gradual worsening is experienced. In 10-15% of the cases the patient experience gradual worsening from the beginning and this type of MS is called primary progressive (PPMS).
The etiology of MS is still unknown, but is considered to be due to environmental triggers in genetically susceptible individuals.
The disease can today be treated with several different immunomodulatory drugs, but extensive research is still needed to find a cure for the disease. If you want to learn more about the research we do at the Karolinska Institute and Center for Molecular Medicine please visit KNIMS.