Dr. Fred Lublin, a neuroimmunologist with a specialty in experimental therapies, will open this year’s annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers on June 1 with an address questioning the continuing importance of relapses in multiple sclerosis (MS).
But the question raised by the title of the John F. Kurtzke Memorial Lecture he will deliver — “Do Relapses Really Matter?” — is decidedly superficial. In a telephone interview with Multiple Sclerosis News Today, Dr. Lublin was clear that relapses matter a great deal.
“Even though we have come a long way in treating relapsing forms of MS, we haven’t stopped all relapses,” Dr. Lublin said. “Relapses have important implications medically, socially, emotionally, and financially.”
And, he added, “relapses interact with how we view progressive [forms of the] disease as well.”
Their clinical manifestations, he has said elsewhere, are likely just “the tip of the iceberg” that is MS.
Dr. Lublin knows the subject well. The director of the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, he is also the Saunders Family Professor of Neurology at the hospital’s Icahn School of Medicine. He has served the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as chair of its advisory committee on clinical trials of new MS drugs, and is the current chair for that committee with the Society’s New York City Chapter. Dr. Lublin, the author of numerous published scientific articles, has also served as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and to pharmaceutical and biotech companies involved in MS drug development, and is a member of the MS Society’s National Board of Directors.
He is a co-editor of the Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders journal, and was a member of the panel that redefined the diagnostic criteria for MS.
“How relapses influence disease worsening and clinical outcomes in MS over the long term continues to be debated and accurate ways to determine what constitutes a relapse in MS and the severity of relapses have been lacking,” he said in a press release given to Multiple Sclerosis News Today by the CMSC. “My opening lecture … will provide insight on how, with emerging efficacy data, MS care professionals can begin to re-evaluate what is an ‘acceptable’ relapse rate.”
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