On the occasion of World Multiple Sclerosis Day, the annual congress of FISM, the Foundation of the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association, the main funder in Italy of scientific research for this pathology, was held in Rome.
«Thanks to research, multiple sclerosis is no longer an incurable disease. Today stopping the progression of multiple sclerosis and other related diseases is therefore a priority for all the actors involved» declares Mario Alberto Battaglia president of Fism. «Our model of co-participatory research is successful and through it we want to promote scientific citizenship: the knowledge and involvement of all citizens – not just the people concerned – to ensure full participation and the translation of research into concrete answers for people and for society”.
The congress also underlined the importance of the role that people affected by the disease have in research, also thanks to telemedicine and the continuous exchange of information between doctors and patients
«Research can stop multiple sclerosis provided that it is of quality, guided by the disease experience of people with multiple sclerosis and that all the different actors, including citizens, are co-responsible for promoting a new scientific culture, in line with the principles of responsible research and innovation promoted by the European Community» emphasizes Paola Zaratin, director of Fism Scientific Research.
Among the ongoing researches, we note an Italian study on the transplantation of stem cells, which could have a neuro-protective action. “The first phase of the study demonstrated that cell transplantation is safe for patients’ health. Now we will design the phase 2 study and enroll the participants to evaluate the efficacy of stem cells and in the end we will know they can be a real opportunity for treatment» explains Gianvito Martino, Scientific Director of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.
The role of a virus in the onset of multiple sclerosis was also discussed during the congress. “The Epstein-Barr virus is a human Herpes virus that infects over 90% of the adult population worldwide and is responsible for infectious mononucleosis” confirms Giancarlo Comi, Honorary Professor of Neurology at the Vita Salute San Raffaele University in Milan. “All people with multiple sclerosis are carriers of this virus, while no person without the virus has multiple sclerosis. What it means? That the virus could be a cause of the disease. Better understanding of the role of the virus in multiple sclerosis is needed to develop new therapies and prevention. Some studies are already underway to study possible therapies and vaccines capable of fighting the virus and its effects.
In the video:
Mario Alberto BATTLE
President of FISM – Italian Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Director of Scientific Research FISM – Italian Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Full Professor of Neurology at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan
Scientific Director of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan