50 years of progress

In 2022, MS Australia marks its 50th anniversary. The organisation was formed to drive awareness, research, and support for people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

For 50 years, MS Australia has advocated across the health, disability and aged care sectors, responding to the impact of government policies and initiatives and seeking to improve all aspects of the lives of people affected by MS.

We invite you to view a snapshot of our milestones from the last 50 years below.

Some key milestones in our 50 year journey...

National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Australia (NMSSA) formed to drive awareness, research and support for people living with MS.
National Medical Research Advisory Board formed to increase funding of MS research projects.
First Research Fund founded by the National Medical Research Advisory Board.
John Studdy (far left) appointed chairman of National MS Society of Australia.
National MS Research Foundation established.
First DMT (disease modifying therapy) listed on the PBS was an injectable drug called interferon beta-1b (brand name Betaferon).
Inaugural (annual) John Studdy Award established which recognises outstanding service and contributions to the MS community.
Australian MS Longitudinal Study (AMSLS) founded, boasting over 20 years of data, now surveying around 10% of Australians with MS.
MS Research Australia established, with Simon McKeon as inaugural Chairman and Jeremy Wright as first Executive Director.
MS Brain Bank launched as a joint venture between MS Research Australia and the University of Sydney, to aid MS research by providing high quality human brain tissue.
Launch of National Advocates Program: volunteer advocates helping to lobby and raise awareness of MS and its impact.
'Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis' report released, conducted by Covance with Menzies Institute for Medical Research.
First IV infusion listed on the PBS was natalizumab (brand name - Tysabri).
First Australian MS Clinical Trials Network launched, plus dedicated website listing all available MS trials across Australia and New Zealand.
First oral (capsule) DMT listed on the PBS was fingolimod (brand name Gilyena).
MS Australia conducts successful medical energy rebate campaign to ensure people with MS across Australia received discounted energy bills for medical cooling and heating.
Launch of Kiss Goodbye To MS fundraising platform for MS research.
The Friends of MS Group established in Federal Parliament (later changed to Parliamentary Friends of MS).
Pictured are current Co-chairs Senator Deborah O’Neill (l) and Senator Wendy Askew (r) with MS Australia President Adj. Associate Prof. Des Graham.
Federal Government establishes the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), after many years of advocacy campaigns by MS Australia and other peak disability organisations.
Vitamin D MS Prevention Clinical Trial (PrevANZ), the largest of its type in the world, recruited participants to bring together evidence on the role of vitamin D in MS. The trial was coordinated and funded by MS Australia.
New Australian research uncovers links between genetics, vitamin D and response to treatment: Australian research conducted as part of the international effort, identified 48 previously unknown genes that affect the risk of developing MS, taking the total number to 110.
MS Australia becomes a founding member of the International Progressive MS Alliance, a collaboration of MS researchers and organisations around the world committed to tackling progressive MS.
Kiss Goodbye to MS launches globally with nine countries joining the campaign.
First DMT approved by the TGA and available for treatment of primary progressive MS was ocrelizumab (brand name Ocrevus) in 2017, though notably not recommended nor approved for listing on the PBS.
Australian-developed anti-Epstein Barr virus (EBV) therapy shows promise in phase I clinical trial supported by MS Australia.
Launch of the 'Health Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis in Australia 2017' Report.
Launch of 'A Roadmap to Defeat MS in Australia' at Parliament House, Canberra by (then) Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on World MS Day 2018.
MS Australia’s Invisible Symptoms animation developed for World MS Day 2019 is a global hit.
Launch of The May 50K campaign, with 9,200+ participants raising over $2.1 million to fund vital MS research - now an annual and global event.
New research by Australian researchers looked at the effect of EBV infection on gene activity in immune cells.
MS Australia successfully advocated for siponimod, (brand name Mayzent) the first-ever treatment for secondary progressive MS to be made available in Australia on the PBS.
MS Australia launches dynamic COVID-19 response for people living with MS including dedicated web hub.
MS Australia and MS Research Australia amalgamate to become one organisation, to increase the commitment to both research and advocacy to improve the lives of people living with MS.
MS Australia wins international MS Brain Health Award.
Record $6.9 million allocated by MS Australia for MS research in 2022.
Federal Budget allocates $18 million for MS research following MS Australia advocacy.
Landmark report on MS Nurse Care in Australia released.
MS Australia launches NDIS advocacy campaign to improve access for people living with MS.
2020 onwards

Our mission is to accelerate Australian MS research toward the prevention, better treatments and a cure for MS.

Connect with your State and Territory MS Member Organisations

We work closely with our four MS Member Organisations who provide frontline support and advice to the MS community, run events and fundraise across the country. Our shared vision over the last 50 years and into the future is a world without MS.

To connect with your State or Territory MS Member Organisation, click on the following links:

President’s Medals

MS Australia would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all those who helped MS Australia to become what it is today – a passionate group of people working to ultimately find a cure for MS.

To mark this anniversary MS Australia has selected 50 recipients from those many worthy Australians to be awarded the MS Australia 50 Years President’s Medal. With this medal, we at MS Australia recognise unwavering and passionate dedication, recognising the outstanding, consistent and selfless service and many contributions towards the MS movement in Australia.

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50 Years of Progress