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New Risk Genes Identified for MS may find cause of disease

July 30, 2007

Holly Anderson, 612-384-6433 (cell)
Emily Wilson, 612-578-4874 (cell)


Two new genetic variations associated with MS have been identified and provide new insights into the cause of multiple sclerosis, which will help researchers to learn how to prevent multiple sclerosis. The findings also present possible new targets for designing better therapies to stop the immune attack in MS.

When: The International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium (IMSGC), a group of international MS genetic experts created with funding from the National MS Society, report their results in The New England Journal of Medicine (published early online July 29, 2007). The Society and Harvard united to jointly raise a total of $3.63 million to fund this genome scan study. Minnesota donors made significant contributions to this study.

Get more information about the study

People with MS from the Twin Cities available for interview on Sunday or Monday:

Rick Ebner: Rick and his sister both have MS. Rick can talk about his personal genetic connection with MS and how important he believes studies like this are as we search for a cure for MS.

Bill MacNally: National MS Society Board Chair and person with MS, Bill can talk about the impact of the news and how MS can weigh in on a person’s decisions to have children.

What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and stops people from moving. Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S., and 2.5 million worldwide.

About the National MS Society:
MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. We help each person address the challenges of living with MS through our 50 state network of chapters. We fund more MS research, provide more services to people with MS, offer more professional education and further more advocacy efforts than any other MS organization in the world. The Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. We are people who want to do something about MS now. The Minnesota Chapter represents an estimated 9,000 people with MS in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Join the movement at http://www.nationalmssociety.org.


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