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Monash Expert: Spotlight on multiple sclerosis as numbers climb

As multiple sclerosis (MS) cases continue to rise, tomorrow’s World MS Day – 30 May – puts a spotlight on the insidious condition.

MS Australia reports that the number of Australians with MS rose by 30 per cent from 2017-2021 – to 33,335 – making it more important than ever to increase awareness and funding for research into treatments and possibly a cure. Total costs for all people with MS in Australia increased from $1.75 billion in 2017 to $2.5 billion in 2021.

Available to comment:

Professor Helmut Butzkueven, Monash University Central Clinical School Department of Neuroscience Head, MSBase Foundation Managing Director, Alfred Health Director of Neurology

Contact details: Ph. +61 (0) 414 881 494 or

  • Multiple sclerosis generally

  • Latest research and treatments

  • Living with MS

  • Future treatments

The following can be attributed to Professor Butzkueven:

“We have advanced MS care enormously in the last 10 years. The biggest area of need is treatments for progressive MS. We need to unlock the huge basic research efforts in the last 10 years and turn them into new treatment trials to stop and reverse MS disability. To open up the trials, we need better ways of measuring MS. We need to create the right infrastructure so all people with MS who can and want to work together on this challenge are enabled and free to do so, no matter where in Australia they live.”

Professor Butzkueven will feature in an MS Plus Webinar on how care is changing. It runs from 5.30-6.30pm AEST on World MS Day, 30 May. More details here

Associate Professor Mastura Monif, Neurologist (Alfred Health) and Monash Department of Neuroscience Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Neuroimmunology, Neuroinflammation and Neurological Diseases Group. Contact details +61 3 9903 4840 or

  • MS symptoms

  • neuroinflammation

  • innate immune responses

  • biomarkers

The following can be attributed to Associate Professor Monif:

“Today in Australia, 33,000 individuals are affected by Multiple Sclerosis. MS can vary from individual to individual. The majority of those with MS have a relapsing remitting type of disease. This is associated with acute worsening of neurological symptoms -- disease flare ups. Currently, we do not have very accurate biomarkers to distinguish MS flare up from remission and our team's research focuses on that.

“We are aiming to identify markers in the blood of patients with MS during relapse that would help us distinguish relapse from remission. These markers once identified can assist with disease diagnosis as well as improving our knowledge for future development of targeted therapies to combat MS relapse effectively and safely.

“MS can be challenging, and some days can be harder than others for those affected by this condition. For us clinicians, it’s important to provide comprehensive and holistic care, and to remember that MS impacts can be wide-reaching for the individual, their caregivers and the whole community. Our team’s research and clinical work is inspired by those affected by MS. Our patients with MS are the reason we work so hard to not only improve clinical care but also research in MS. Our utmost aims are to reduce the burden of disease for those affected by this condition by improving current knowledge and treatments.”

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