Multiple sclerosis genome study offers treatment clues

A large international study has identified many new genetic variations linked to multiple sclerosis (MS). The study, which included New Zealand researchers and patients, provides new clues to the mechanisms underlying this complex neurodegenerative disorder. 

The findings of the study, undertaken by the  International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium, were published in Nature this week. In what is called a genome wide association study (GWAS), researchers looked for genetic differences between more than 9,000 people with MS and over 17,000 controls.

Researchers from Otago University, Christchurch, Dunedin Hospital and Auckland University contributed to the study and 146 patients from New Zealand were involved.

Several known genetic factors were confirmed but new leads were also identified, suggesting novel targets for therapy.

Examples of media coverage:


Daily Mail: Massive multiple sclerosis study doubles the number of genes known to contribute to disease

The Independent: Multiple sclerosis study identifies genetic causes

BBC News: Genetic clues to what triggers MS

ABC News: Scientists take a step towards finding MS cure


The Daily Post: Multiple sclerosis: New study holds clues about causes

Radio New Zealand: Multiple sclerosis study sheds more light on disease

TVNZ News: NZ scientists help unravel clues to multiple sclerosis