I have one of those Google Alerts set up to notify me when any news gets posted on any of several MS related topics. I always get a little excited when a headline touting some new treatment breakthrough shows up, although by now I should know better. Those breakthroughs are always applied to Relapsing-Remitting forms of MS. The articles usually include a paragraph, a little apologetic, that for Progressive forms, there really are no treatments, and that Progressive MS is not very well understood.
So it was with great interest that I read the cover story of the latest newsletter from the Tisch MS Research Center of New York, announcing that one of their research teams had succeeded in creating a model of progressive MS. Previous to this discovery, researchers relied on Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE), which best mimics relapsing forms of MS. EAE has been instrumental in a lot of discoveries, but very few of them apply to progressive forms of MS. It is hoped that with this new model, progressive MS can now be more thoroughly studied, understood, and, where no real treatments now exist, there may someday be found ways to slow or maybe even reverse progressive MS.
I’m not holding my breath. These initiaL breakthroughs, when they do lead to some practical use, take a long time to produce any treatments that apply to actual patients. Still, I am very encouraged that stuff like this is going on.