Paris is considered to be the “birthplace” of MS, where this debilitating disease was first discovered in 1868. It was at this very city that the International Progressive MS Alliance held their recent Executive Committee meeting. The goal, of course, whilst acknowledging we were at the city where our forefather scientists first began the earliest incarnation of the long journey in improving our understanding of MS, was to plot the course on how we will eventually stop and reverse it.
The International Progressive MS Alliance was established in 2012 to direct the global focus and attention on the unmet needs of people living with progressive MS. This global collaborative alliance which includes MS organisations, researchers, clinicians, industry and people with MS is unified in its determination to end progressive MS. Now with sixteen countries on board, the International Progressive MS Alliance movement is clearly showing that that there is more than just hope, but progress for the 1 million- strong hearts and minds that are living with progressive disease.
The global financial cost of progressive MS disease now exceeds €235 billion annually. Whilst we are excited that a number of new therapies are now being either registered or investigated for progressive MS, we still have a long way to go.
MS Research Australia knows that this is not a solitary journey, and that we certainly cannot solve it alone, that is why we know a collaborative relationship and involvement in the International Progressive Alliance is the correct vehicle. It is indisputable that we are on the right path.
Despite a brutally packed agenda at the meeting of the Alliance, there was one free afternoon that I found myself staring at Rodin’s famous statue- “The Thinker” for quite some time. I realised that we are trying to solve one of the most complex parts of arguably one of the world’s most complex diseases. In our world, this statue may signify the world’s greatest MS scientific minds working completely overtime, testing and retesting theories, surveying the landscape, testing new or repurposed drugs and trying to unlock the mysteries of progressive MS. It’s often challenging, confusing and frustrating work.
Over the upcoming months the Alliance will present its new exciting strategic plan and there are a few other projects we are looking forward to sharing with you.
I would like to thank QANTAS Australia for their very generous support and part sponsorship of my attendance to the overseas meetings.