Michaela from the MS community: How can people with MS help with future research?
Professor Hans Lassman, Professor of Neuro Immunology: Yeah, I think there are certainly many aspects of that. Obviously what the research can only be done with the co-operation of the patients and that means that every type of immunological molecular biological research, but also neuropathological research actually requires the co-operation and the consent of the patients.
And it has to be quite clear that if the researchers don’t get the material to research on, they cannot do research. And though, for instance for pathology, we can only do pathology research when we have access to the brain. And here, for instance, a very important initiative is the development of brain banks, for instance, in the UK which is funded by the MS Society, but that is in many countries very under-developed and it could go better.
Michaela: And would it help if patients gave extra samples of CSF and things like that for research purposes?
Professor Hans Lassman: No, absolutely. For instance, also one would also need more and more longitudinal studies and that would mean that possibly also, for instance, not a single CSF tap, but repeated CSF taps should be taken and that can actually be done nowadays with a very untraumatic way with taking only very small volumes of cerebral spinal fluid with very little danger and side effects. But obviously it is an invasive procedure and patients have to consent with that and they have to know exactly what will be done and why and why this is important.
Professor Lassman is the Head of Neuroimmunology at the Medical University of Vienna. His core interest groups include, multiple sclerosis (MS), neuroinflammation, and inflamatory diseases of the nervous system. He has received many research awards, including the Charcot Award (2005), the SOBEK Foundation Award (2000) and the K.J. Zülch Award (2010).