This year’s World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day will focus on the vital research aiming to find a cure for the autoimmune disease affecting more than 25,000 Australians.
The annual event, held on Wednesday 30 May will be recognised by MS Australia, MS Research Australia, the four state and territory MS organisations and the international MS community.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MS Australia, Deidre Mackechnie says World MS Day is an important date in the organisation’s calendar.
“World MS Day helps us to raise awareness about MS - the public can share stories, attend events, support communities and together, strengthen the network of people living with MS across the world,” she says.
“The day is also a chance to recognise MS community support networks, such as organisations and carers, among others.”
World MS Day will play an important role in connecting people affected by the condition to those involved in MS research, thanks to the MS International Federation’s (MSIF) 2018 campaign, #bringinguscloser.
The campaign’s key message is ‘regardless of where progress in MS research is made, it will benefit people all over the world.’
CEO of MS Research Australia , Dr Matthew Miles recognises the part research plays in helping find a cure for the progressive and unpredictable condition affecting the central nervous system.
“The research theme also helps us highlight both the brain drain in Australia - where talented young MS researchers cannot remain in their chosen field due to unavailability of funding and either leaving the field completely or heading overseas - and the critical MS funding shortfall,” he says.
Although Dr Miles acknowledges the important role of the Australian Government in funding research and making MS medications more affordable, he says there remains a need to increase this investment in research to uncover the cause and cure for MS and ensure leading world class researchers remain motivated and continue conducting their work in Australia.
“Our wish on World MS Day 2018, is to raise awareness of the need for increased funding to accelerate Australian research targeting prevention, better treatments, ways to enhance quality of life and a cure for MS,” he says.
Some MS research successes include a world first blood test developed to distinguish between the types of MS, a new biomarker used to diagnose the condition, investigations of a genetic overlap between MS and Type 1 Diabetes and an international clinical trial revealing siponimod can slow progression in people with secondary progressive MS.
To find a World MS Day event near you, click here.