The Need for Progressive MS Research: Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR


The senior director of patient management, care, and rehabilitation research at the National MS Society discussed the lack of studies on progressive MS compared to RRMS.

“The weight of evidence is focused on symptom management and comes overwhelmingly from studies that are predominantly or even solely involving people with relapsing-remitting MS. So, this paper evolved because we understood that there's a lack of studies among people with progressive MS. And that creates a big challenge for clinicians and researchers in the field to evaluate symptomatic treatment of progressive MS.”

The International Progressive MS Alliance, consisting of multiple sclerosis (MS) agencies across the world, has called for action in the field of progressive MS in a recent publication. The alliance has called on the research community expand on progressive MS research as well as organizations to devote more funding to its care.

The National MS Society is one such member organization of the alliance, and Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR, senior director, patient management, care and rehabilitation research, served as first author. Zackowski and colleagues outlined current issues with progressive MS research in the paper, published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

NeurologyLive spoke with Zackowski to learn more about the call to action for progressive MS research and the issues that prompted it. She discussed the lack of studies including progressive MS and the imbalance of treatments between relapsing-remitting MS and progressive MS.

Which symptoms of progressive MS would you like to see more research conducted in?

Mobility and upper extremity impairment
Cognitive impairment
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
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