Multiple Sclerosis

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition. It is caused by damage to myelin, the fibre that protects the nerves within the central nervous system. The central nervous system controls the body's actions and activities, such as movement and balance.

Symptoms are numerous and unpredictable. Each person with MS is affected differently. For some people their symptoms develop and worsen over time, for others they come and go. The most common symptoms include fatigue, problems with mobility and balance, pain, muscle spasms and muscle tightness.

There is currently no cure for MS, nor is the cause well understood. There is some evidence to suggest that it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors but more investigation is needed.

Who is affected?

MS affects more than 100,000 people in the UK. 

Individuals can develop MS at any age but symptoms usually first occur between the ages of 20 and 40.

Women are almost twice as likely to develop MS as men.

How we help

We have funded research into possible new treatments of MS under the lead of Professor Ken Smith, Head of the Department of Neuroinflammation at UCL Institute of Neurology

Projects include:

  • Development of therapies, and a strategy for their translation, to treat early lesions in MS.
  • The funding of PhD student, Heike Kroll, to work with Professor Smith to develop a greater understanding of the role of blood plasma constituents in MS
  • Investigation of immune cell toxicity in multiple sclerosis, led by Dr Jennifer Pocock at the UCL Institute of Neurology’s Department of Neuroinflammation.