Tagsmouldering MS

Premature Ageing

One of my colleagues, with whom I was co-authoring an editorial on smouldering MS, demanded I delete the section on premature ageing being a factor driving delayed worsening of disability in people with MS (pwMS). I refused so we had to pull the editorial. The fact that he is quite old and doesn’t like the hypothesis of brain & cognitive reserve being neuroprotective explains his position. He...

Will the real MS say hello?

The difference between religion, a belief system, and science, an experimental system, is that you can falsify the latter, but not the former. So when KoL (key opinion leaders) say they believe something they don’t really mean it literally. What they are really stating is a hypothesis that needs to be interrogated.  So when I say that relapses and focal MRI activity are not MS, but are...

What’s in a name?

The Barts-MS team are in the final stages of preparing a UK MS Society grant application to tackle the ‘real MS’ that lives inside you. Our focus is on studying or defining what is smouldering MS. This is a massive unmet need and refers to what we currently call inactive SPMS and PPMS. This is likely to affect a lot of you; at present, you remain in the so-called untreated MS camp. Ocrelizumab...

My ‘Smouldering MS Clinic’

I finished yesterday emotionally burnt-out; “broken and useless, no longer working or effective” or “kaput” as the Germans would say. I did an all-day clinic with my registrar off sick; it was hard and brutal.  On my way home I wondered to myself if I should change the name of my MS clinic to the ‘Smouldering MS Clinic’. Virtually all of my patients had smouldering MS or as some of you would...

What’s in a name?

You will have noticed that a lot of discussion on this blog has recently been devoted to the topic of secondary progression or smouldering MS or whatever else you want to call it. At the moment there is no standard terminology for describing the scenario of someone with MS who is NEDA-2 (no relapses and no activity on MRI) who is getting worse. The getting worse could be overt, i.e. worsening...

What is MS?

The more I read,  think and assimilate information the more I realise that the real pathology behind MS is not the new acute lesion or relapse, but what is going on behind the scenes in the so-called slowly expanding chronic MS lesion or SEL.  MS is a smouldering disease.  In an analysis of the ocrelizumab-PPMS or ORATORIO trial, it is clear that SELs already existed in the brains of PPMSers when...

Do you want a cure?

MSers want a cure. However, even if we have an MS cure in hand we may not prevent or reverse progressive disease. How can this be? Focal inflammation damages nerves in two ways. It can shred and destroy nerve fibres as part of the initial inflammatory stage (acute neurodegeneration) or it can damage nerves and leave them functioning, but the resulting damage primes them to die off in the future;...

Inactive MS; does it exist?

I had an interesting discussion with some like-minded colleagues recently about active and inactive MS. We seemed to agree on what active MS is, be it in the relapsing or progressive phases of MS. However, we couldn’t really agree on what inactive MS is. Take this following case scenario; many said he was inactive, but others felt he had active MS and should have his treatment switched. Would you...

Old age; how is it going to affect me?

Is ageing a disease? It is if you have MS. We have been making the argument for moving our treatment target in MS to focus on old age; i.e. how do we your HCPs get you to old age with enough brain to deal with the ravages of age-related cognitive impairment? Mechanisms of neuronal loss in MS It is clear that your brain and cognitive reserves are what protects you from the ‘normal age-related...

Why is everyone drinking anti-CD20 kool-aid?

Prof G will ocrelizumab and rituximab prevent SPMS? Just back from the COMBAT-MS stakeholders meeting in Pasadena with the Kaiser (Kaiser Foundation Research Institute) and Swedish (Karolinska Institute) trial teams, PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) and many brave an wonderful people with MS and their families. The COMBAT-MS study (NCT03193866) is recruiting well and is on...

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