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The Prognosis for MS is Changing Due to Advancements in Treatment and Awareness, Yet Access to Care is Top of Mind for Global Neurologists

World Federation of Neurology: November 18, 2019 | London— Are regulators keeping up with new treatments and management strategies that can greatly improve the lives of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS)? That question is being debated following the unveiling of significant clinical advances in the diagnostic criteria and treatment of MS at the XXIV World Congress of Neurology (WCN 2019)  in Dubai, UAE.

“Few neurological conditions have seen advancements like that in the study of MS,” says Professor Alan Thompson, FMedSci, FRCP, FRCPI, Chair SSC of the International Progressive Alliance. “MS has gone from being an untreatable condition to being a manageable disease which is an extraordinary story of achievement, but there is still a long way to go.”

MS affects an estimated 2.3 million people around the world, and research shows that access to quality treatment is vital in altering the progression of the disease, especially during the inflammatory part of the disease.

On a global level, there is a concerning gap between the results of clinical trials and regulators’ approval of advanced therapies, leaving some patients without access to the most effective options.

In fact, therapeutic lags have resulted in entire regions where MS patients will be disabled for longer, due to restrictions or lags in regulatory approvals that restrict doctors from prescribing treatments with the best outcomes.

“The understanding of the disease and disease phenotypes are changing,” said Prof. Bill Carroll, president of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) and neurologist at the Department of Neurology and Neurophysiology at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Western Australia. “We have found that drugs do modify the disease, and the underlying disease process matches poorly with these outdated clinical phenotypes.”

To see improved developments in MS treatment and diagnosis, global awareness and advocacy are in order. “International initiatives and awareness will help unlock greater funding for MS research and lead to more effective treatments,” says Prof. Thompson.

“Our patients should be the number one priority, and it’s time for neurologists and MS physicians to adopt the approach that they should consider prescribing what is most appropriate for their patients today, despite what restrictions may have put in place yesterday by regulators,” said Prof. Carroll.

WCN 2019, hosted by the World Federation of Neurology, brought together leaders in neurology to present new research, hold educational sessions and inspire action on topics ranging from MS and migraine to epilepsy and climate change.

About the World Federation of Neurology

The World Federation of Neurology represents 120 member neurological societies around the globe to foster quality neurology and brain health worldwide by promoting neurological education and training with an emphasis on under-resourced areas of the world. WFN supports the spread of accurate research and clinical information in the pursuit of improvements in the field of neurology. With support from member organizations around the globe, WFN unites the world to allow patients greater access to brain health. For more information, please visit the WCN 2019 web site at or by searching using the tag #WCN2019.

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