Jan Hillert, MD, PhD: Treating the Non-Inflammatory Aspects of MS


The professor and senior physician in the department of clinical neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet spoke to the aspects of MS—such as brain volume loss—which are not currently being addressed by the available disease-modifying therapies.

“There are other mechanisms also at play in MS, and the concentration on focal inflammation only gives sort of part of the answer of how to treat MS. There is, very evidently, a void there in our full capability of controlling this devastating disease.”

While patients with multiple sclerosis have a not insignificant number of available treatments compared to other neurologic diseases, these therapies, though effective, only address one part of the puzzle. Jan Hillert, MD, PhD, professor and senior physician, clinical neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, spoke about this need for more information on the other aspects of the disease’s progression which aren’t linked to focal inflammation.

These include neuronal loss, brain volume loss, and other neurodegenerative symptoms which the current armamentarium of treatments don’t address. In addition to that, no therapies have yet proven capable of completely preventing patients from transitioning to progressive disease. Hillert said that the drugs “do a lot of good, but they don’t do everything”

To further discuss this topic, NeurologyLive's sister publication AJMC spoke with Hillert at ECTRIMS 2019, September 11-13 in Stockholm, Sweden. Hillert shared insight into the need for treatments in these devastating aspects of MS, and for further research into exactly what roles they play in the disease process.

For more coverage of ECTRIMS 2019, click here.


Hillert J. The road not (yet) taken: targeting new pathways of MS pathophysiology. Presented at: ECTRIMS 2019; September 11-13; Stockholm, Sweden. Satellite Symposium 5.

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