MS outcomes are very different between people, ranging from very mild, with no significant persistent disability to very severe disability after a few years. At present, the ability to predict a person’s likely MS outcome at first diagnosis is limited.
During this fellowship, Dr Jokubaitis aims to better understand who with MS is likely to have mild disease, and who is likely to develop significant disability. To do this, she will first conduct a genetic study to determine whether she can find inherited differences between people with mild and severe disease and therefore determine which genes can predict progression of a person’s MS.
Once genetic differences are identified, the second part of the fellowship will use these differences to build statistical models to determine just how important they are in controlling long-term outcomes compared to demographic factors (such as age and sex), clinical factors (such as an individual’s disability scores, relapse history, MRI), and treatments. This will allow Dr Jokubaitis to find out whether genes determine MS outcomes, or whether outcomes can be modified.
The research, if successful, will offer people with recently confirmed MS a better understanding of their likely prognosis and therefore inform treatment choice (balancing benefit and risk for their individual situation and ensure that people with MS are receiving the best possible treatments and care strategy for them.
Updated: 1 February 2017
Updated: 11 February, 2017