Risk factors for Primary Progressive MS

Associate Professor Ingrid van der Mei

Menzies Institute for Medical Research, TAS

| Causes and Prevention | Epidemiology | Social And Applied Research | Project | 2015 | Investigator Led Research |


There are currently no treatments available for people with Primary Progressive MS (PPMS). Comparatively little research has been done in PPMS to date and our understanding of the risk factors for this type of MS is poor. The purpose of this study is to use data already collected from the Ausimmune study, which is now called AUSlong study to test risk factors associated with PPMS compared to people without MS.

Dr van der Mei’s project aims to examine whether the established risk factors for relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) are similar in people with PPMS, or whether there may be unique risk factors associated with this type of MS. This study will form the foundation of a longer term study, where people with PPMS will be followed over time to explore if any of the identified risk factors might be associated with disease progression. This project will help to improve not only our understanding of the causes and mechanisms of PPMS, but also helping to understand the features of illness to improve prognosis in people currently living with PPMS.

Project Outcomes

The researchers have set up the study, infrastructure, completed all regulatory requirements and recruited personnel. To date the study has recruited over 160 people with PPMS under the age of 60, with many being interviewed and providing bio specimens. This data is being analysed to identify risk factors associated with PPMS. The first analysis has identified that those with a progressive onset are worse off in terms of patient-reported outcomes, particularly early in the disease process.

100 people with primary progressive MS over 60 have also been enrolled and these participants in this study are also being co-enrolled in the Australian MS Longitudinal study (AMSLS). There are now around 425 people with PPMS enrolled in the AMSLS, a remarkable achievement. The AMSLS is an ongoing study which focuses on identifying factors that are associated with the progression of MS, the quality of life and symptom severity suffered by people with all types of MS.

The understanding of factors that contribute to the development of PPMS will help us to unravel the biological mechanisms of PPMS and ultimately to the development of treatments and interventions.

Updated: 20 April 2018

Updated: 06 January, 2015



Grant Awarded

  •  Project Grant

Total Funding

  • $142,000


  • 2015 - 2017

Funding Partner

  • MS Angels
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Risk factors for Primary Progressive MS