The COVID Focus and the Top Talks at ACTRIMS 2021: Jeffrey Cohen, MD


The president of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in MS shared his perspective on the impact of COVID and the top talks at the ACTRIMS Forum 2021.

“What was interesting about [the Kenneth P. Johnson Memorial Lecture and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Barancik Award Presentation and Talk] is that they emphasized novel interactions between the immune system and the myelin-forming cells. Dr. [Benjamin] Segal talked about some novel leukocyte populations—some immune cell populations that are involved not only in the damage that’s caused by MS, but also in stimulating the repair that naturally happens.”

The Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2021 included a variety of presentations and talks focused on the meeting’s theme of the “Spectrum of Multiple Sclerosis” (MS). This was very prevalent in the 2 opening talks: the Kenneth P. Johnson Memorial Lecture, delivered this year by Benjamin Segal, MD, and the National MS Society Barancik Award Presentation and Talk, delivered by Dwight E. Bergles, PhD.

For ACTRIMS president Jeffrey Cohen, MD, these talks were very reflective of the state of the science in MS research and a few novel bits of information. Segal focused on the understanding of progressive MS and the role that immune cells play in disease progression and repair, while Bergles spent time on the interactions that oligodendrocytes have with the immune system and the axons. Both, ultimately, displaying the new understandings that are being researched in MS currently.

Additionally, Cohen, who is also the director of the Mellen Center for MS Treatment and Research at Cleveland Clinic, shared his thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 with NeurologyLive in this interview. He spoke to the COVID-themed presentations given in the Cutting Edge sessions, and how the virus affected the normal relaying of phase 2 and 3 clinical trial data at this year’s meeting.

For more coverage of ACTRIMS Forum 2021, click here.

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