Karolslinka Institute, Sweden: genetic and environmental factors

MS genetic and environmental factors for severity/progression through studies of complications including spasticity, pain, depression, urogenital complications, sick leave/pension/income using Swedish registries for comparisons/interaction analysis

Principal Investigator: Tomas Olsson, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), Ph.D.
Institution: Karolinska Institute
Country: Sweden
Amount Awarded: €74,250

MS is unpredictable; this team is looking for a way to change that. They are studying risk genes, and lifestyle/environmental factors (such as smoking and previous infections), and their potential interactions, in a large Swedish, nationwide database. They have collected blood samples for 10 years from 8000 persons with MS and 6500 matched controls without MS, collecting data on disease development. Genetic information and the most critical lifestyle/environmental factors will be assessed for their association with MS complications such as spasticity, as well as MS severity and time to progression. The team hopes to identify genes and lifestyle factors related to outcomes and quality of life.

What does this mean for people living with progressive MS?

This study could pave the way for new therapeutic strategies, and help define lifestyle and environmental factors that may provide clues to preventing or stopping MS.


Project Update

Status: Complete

Over the past 10 years, a Swedish registration databased has collected blood samples from 8000 individuals with MS and 6500 control subjects without MS. The recent analysis of genotypes, covering all 110 previously identified MS risk genes have revealed correlations of severity and progression. Replication studies will be performed.


Principal Investigator: Tomas Olsson

Tomas OlssonTomas Olsson, MD, PhD, earned his MD and his doctoral degree in neuropathology from the University of Linköping. He completed internship, residency or postdoctoral training with a focus on Neurology and Multiple Sclerosis at the Karolinska Institute. He now conducts research focusing on neuroinflammation in general but with a strong focus on multiple sclerosis. His work in the field of neuroimmunology has earned recognition from several granting agencies (Swedish Research Council, EU, Wallenberg Foundation). He was past president of the International Society of Neuroimmunology, and is currently a member of the ECTRIMS (European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS) Executive Committee. He has received research prizes from the Fernström Foundation, The Johansen foundation in Denmark, and Umeå University for the most distinguished neuroscientist in Sweden this year. He has also been a member of the Nobel assembly for 14 years.

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