Preventing disability in patients with severe forms of MS

Dr Izanne Roos

University of Melbourne

| Better treatments | Neurobiology | Fellowship | 2022 | Investigator Led Research |


MS is a prominent cause of neurological disability. The course of MS is different for each individual, with approximately 6% of people having an aggressive form of MS and accumulating disability at a faster rate.

Preventing disability is a primary goal of MS treatment. More than 13 treatments with varying potency and safety have been registered for MS in Australia. Treatment choices should be personalised, and the right treatment should be used for each patient to optimise long-term outcomes. Currently, however, the best treatment approach in people with aggressive MS remains uncertain.

In this research project, Dr Izanne Roos will first confirm the reliability of statistical models that predict an individual’s risk of developing aggressive MS at the earliest stages of MS.

The team will then establish whether early use of highly potent therapies can prevent aggressive disease in those at high risk. This will be analysed in data from two large MS registries.

Finally, the study team will generalise these findings to the MS population, by testing whether early use of highly potent therapies can prevent disability, using data from two clinical trials and another large clinical study. This will provide conclusive evidence to confirm if early use of high potency therapy can prevent disability in a broader population of people with MS.

Progress to Date

The primary objective of this research is to validate statistical models capable of early-stage prediction of aggressive MS onset in individuals (Project 1). Subsequently, the aim is to evaluate whether prompt administration of potent therapies can block the development of severe disease in those considered high-risk (Project 2).

Considerable progress has been made in the ongoing research by Dr Izanne Roos and her team. Collaborations have been established with prominent teams specialising in MS and neuroimmunology. This has been complemented by the successful approvals, facilitating the seamless transfer of data. The comprehensive data mapping for Projects 1 and 2 is complete, setting a strong foundation for future analyses.

Obtaining data from expansive MS registries such as MSBase and OFSEP, alongside a cohort of MS participants from Barcelona, Spain, has been a large focus.

Throughout the past year, the focus has been on building partnerships, gathering data while making sure to follow all the rules and regulations. This time has been crucial for gaining the necessary skills and know-how needed for the complex project. Initial analyses for Project 1 have given important insights, leading to a review and improvement of the groups of people being studied. Everything is now in place for Project 2, with updates to follow soon.


  • Roos I, Diouf I, Sharmin S, et al. Comparative effectiveness in multiple sclerosis: A methodological comparison. Multiple Sclerosis Journal. 2023;0(0). doi:10.1177/13524585231151394
  • Roos I, Malpas C, Leray E, et al. Disease Reactivation After Cessation of Disease-Modifying Therapy in Patients With Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. Neurology. Oct 25 2022;99(17):e1926-e1944. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000201029]
  • Malpas C, Roos I, Sharmin S, et al. Multiple sclerosis relapses following cessation of fingolimod. Clinical Drug Investigation 2022 Apr;42(4):355-364.
  • Frascoli F, Roos I, Malpas CB, Kalincik T. The dynamics of relapses during treatment switch in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. J Theor Biol. 2022 May 21;541:111091. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2022.111091. Epub 2022 Mar 11. PMID: 35283184.

Updated: 31 March 2023

Updated: 14 February, 2022

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years



  • Professor Tomas Kalincik

Grant Awarded

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship

Total Funding

  • $225,000


  • 3 years

Read More
Lachlan Rash

Newsletter subscription

  • Enter your details

Preventing disability in patients with severe forms of MS