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Finding a Cure for Multiple Sclerosis: Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR

The senior director of patient management, care, and rehabilitation research at the National MS Society discussed the organization’s ultimate goal of curing MS.

“We really are getting closer to finding treatments for progressive MS that are as effective as those for relapsing MS. Our big push is really to say that we're looking for the cure. And that has been the case from the beginning, but now we're saying it out loud, that we want to look for a cure, but what a cure means to each person is different."

The International Progressive MS Alliance, made up of multiple sclerosis (MS) organizations from across the world including the National MS Society, has published a paper calling for action in the field of progressive MS to prioritize certain areas of research. The alliance aims to identify and bring to attention important issues in progressive MS that need more research and funding.

Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR, senior director of patient management, care, and rehabilitation research, National MS Society, served as first author of the paper. Zackowski and colleagues isolated 4 key areas that they believe need to be targeted in progressive MS research: fatigue, pain, mobility and upper extremity impairment, and cognitive impairment. They stressed the fact that research within these MS characteristics is mostly done in relapsing MS as opposed to progressive MS.

NeurologyLive spoke with Zackowski to learn more about the unmet needs in progressive MS care and rehabilitation. She discussed the importance of newly diagnosed patients getting a baseline physical therapy evaluation and also stressed the National MS Society’s goal of ultimately finding a cure for MS.

REFERENCE
Zackowski KM, Freeman J, Brichetto G, et al. Prioritizing progressive MS rehabilitation research: A call from the International Progressive MS Alliance. Mult Scler J. Published online March 15, 2021. doi: 10.1177/1352458521999970