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CONy 2020 | The problem with defining types of MS

Gavin Giovannoni, MBBCh, PhD, FCP, FRCP, FRCPath, Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK, discusses the problem with classifying multiple sclerosis (MS) into four individual diseases. The origin of these categories stems from the first clinical trials of MS in their attempt to gain orphan drug status. Therefore, these categories are not based on the biology of the disease which leads to huge implications. For example, individual clinical trials for each category of patients are more expensive and the development to more progressive forms of MS can result in a roadblock in eligible treatments. Prof. Giovannoni concludes that treatment should be based on the biology of the disease and active inflammation, regardless of the subtype of MS. This interview took place during the Virtual World Congress on Controversies in Neurology (CONy) 2020.


Over the last 20 years, Professor Giovannoni has received personal compensation for participating on Advisory Boards in relation to multiple sclerosis clinical trial design, trial steering committees and data and safety monitoring committees from Abbvie, Actelion, Almirall, Atara Bio, Bayer-Schering Healthcare, Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Canbex, Celgene, Eisai, Elan, Fiveprime, Genentech, GSK, GW Pharma, Ironwood, Janssen, Merck, Merck-Serono, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi-Genzyme, Synthon BV, Teva, UCB Pharma and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Professor Giovannoni is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders and chairs the MS Brain Health initiative, MS Academy and triMS.online conference. He has previously been a member of the multiple sclerosis and related disorders specialist advisory group of the Association of British Neurologists and an ECTRIMS representative. He is a director of Oxford Health Policy Forum, a nonprofit social enterprise.