Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system and can, to varying degrees, interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. MS affects more than 25,000 Australians and 2.5 million people worldwide and is increasing by 4% every year. In Australia alone it costs more than $1 billion annually. Since identification, MS has been the subject of intense, world-wide research, but its cause and cure remain elusive.
The Menzies Institute for Medical Research (Menzies), now part of the College of Health and Medicine, has proudly been at the forefront of research advancements in MS for twenty years. Our scientists, in collaboration with other researchers around the world, have been responsible for many of the major breakthroughs in MS research, including the link between UV exposure (Vitamin D) and a reduced risk of MS.
We also manage Australia’s largest cohort study of people with MS (the Australian MS Longitudinal Study). This research provides other researchers, advocacy groups and government agencies with practical information on how MS is impacting on people’s lives.
The Menzies MS Flagship Program has grown out of this intensive focus and research capability. It is a hub of interdisciplinary MS research, knowledge, knowledge translation and support within Menzies, which builds momentum across the wider MS community, nationally and internationally, towards improving outcomes for people living with MS and ultimately ending MS.
Through a shared passion between researchers, and partnerships with key organisations and groups, including those living with MS, their families and carers, the Flagship will provide the leadership and impetus for the establishment of the Australian MS Research & Translation Network.