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On April 22, 2021, Dr. Alan J Thompson of the University College London and the UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK will deliver the Hughlings Jackson Lecture entitled, “Making Progress in Progressive MS – the Ultimate Challenge!” Established in 1935, the Hughlings Jackson Lecture is The Neuro’s premier scientific lecture. It honors the legacy of British neurologist John Hughlings Jackson (1835-1911) who pioneered the development of neurology as a medical specialty.
Talk Abstract : The international focus on progressive MS, driven by the Progressive MS Alliance amongst others, together with recent encouraging results from clinical trials have raised the profile and emphasised the importance of understanding, treating and ultimately preventing progression in MS. Effective treatment for Progressive MS is now regarded as the single most important issue facing the MS community. There are several important challenges to developing new treatments for progressive MS. Fundamental to any development in treatment is a better understanding of the mechanisms of tissue injury underpinning progression which will in turn allow the identification of new targets against which treatments can be directed. There are additional complications in determining when progression actually starts, determining the impact of aging and defining the progressive clinical phenotypes – an area which has become increasingly complex in recent months.
Evaluating potential new treatments in progressive MS also poses particular challenges including trial design and the selection of appropriate clinical and imaging outcomes - in particular, identifying an imaging biomarker for phase II trials of progressive MS. Despite these challenges, considerable progress is being made in developing new treatments targeting the innate immune system and exploring neuroprotective strategies. Further advances are being driven by a number of international networks, funded by the Progressive MS Alliance. Overall we are seeing encouraging progress as a result of co-ordinated global collaboration which offers real possibilities for truly effective treatment of progression.