At the start of the Fism congress, focus on paths for multiple sclerosis treatments

Opened on world day, the event traces shared research paths

On the occasion of World Multiple Sclerosis Day (SM) The annual congress of the Foundation of the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association (Fism), the main sponsor of scientific research on this pathology in Italy, opened today in Rome. The event, entitled ‘Our pathways to cure‘, which takes place in Rome from 30 May to 1 June, is an opportunity – reads a note released by Aism – to talk about the co-responsibility of all the actors involved in the research system to build and share paths ( pathways) to arrive at curative cures for MS and other related pathologies.

The numbers of Fism’s commitment towards researchers, people with MS and the institutions are important: 5.3 million euros made available to researchers by the 2022 Call; 153 research groups that in 2023 have 97 research projects underway with IMF funding of 22 million euros; 154 publications with an average impact factor of 8.2 in 2022; 40 million euros invested in the last 6 years. Furthermore, since 1989 Aism, with its Foundation, has supported 463 researchers, financing 189 scholarships and 664 research projects; 76% of the researchers funded in all these years continue to carry out studies on multiple sclerosis.

“Thanks to the research – he declares Mario Alberto Battaglia president of IMF – multiple sclerosis is no longer an incurable disease. While there have been many breakthroughs for people with relapsing forms of MS, there are still no approved therapies for people with inactive secondary progressive MS, i.e. people who have no clinical relapse or show active inflammation on MRI scans. Stop the progression of MS and other related diseases – he adds – it is therefore a priority for all the actors involved, including industry representatives. Our model of co-participatory research is successful and through it we want to promote scientific citizenship: the knowledge and involvement of all citizens – not just interested people – to ensure full participation and the translation of research into concrete answers for people and for society”.

“Research – he underlines Paola Zaratin, director of Fism Scientific Research – can stop multiple sclerosis provided that it is of quality, guided by the disease experience of people with MS and that all the different actors, including citizens, are co-responsible for promoting a new scientific culture, in line with research principles and responsible innovation promoted by the European Community”. In this regard, the congress will deal with the theme of the ‘Science of sharing’, emphasizing the importance of the role that people affected by the disease and citizens play in research, also through the important testimony of the journalist Francesca Mannocchi.

“The future of medicine can only have scientific research as the driving force. A search – details Gianvito Martino, Scientific Director of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan – which shares knowledge without asking anything in return, without discriminating against the producers of a scientific idea on the basis of their personal characteristics and which has, as a categorical imperative, that of seeking innovative and more effective solutions for the health of sick people beyond the material and personal benefits that can derive from it. To win this challenge – he continues – civil society as a whole must be involved and that politics finally decides to consider scientific research as the main strategic and cultural tool for achieving collective and individual well-being”.

“Among the rights of people with MS and related pathologies – he underlines Rachele Michelacci, vice president of Aism – that of scientific research is a priority, because the results of research contribute to the realization of other rights. As a person with MS, however, I think I also have a responsibility towards research: if I claim the fact that it is conducted as a right, – he observes – I must participate together with the researchers and the institutions in its realization. A model that sees people as active subjects of research”.

The scientific priorities of the 2025 Agenda were confirmed and shared by the main international Sm Associations, at the conclusion of the first ‘Pathways to Cures Global Summit’. “Sm associations – he reflects Jaume Sastre-Garriga, deputy director of Cemcat, the multiple sclerosis center of Catalonia, co-president of the Fism Scientific Committee – act as a bridge between people and researchers: they make people with MS understand the importance of research, and researchers the importance of involving people in research and establish together with them research objectives that are relevant precisely for those who live with the disease. A role that Aism, with its Foundation – he adds – plays very well: not only by ensuring funding but also by participating responsibly in the planning and implementation of scientific research”.

Thanks to the Multi-Act Responsible Research and Innovation model, Aism, with its Foundation, collaborates with various national and international partners to promote the integration of Responsible Research Innovation principles. Internationally, it promotes and finances various initiatives, such as the International Progressive MS Alliance, the global initiative on measures reported by people with MS Global Proms Initiative and the Multiple Sclerosis MS Care Unit.