Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that results in varying degrees of disability. Progressive multiple sclerosis, characterized by a steady increase in neurological disability independently of relapses, can occur from onset (primary progressive) or after a relapsing–remitting course (secondary progressive). As opposed to active inflammation seen in the relapsing–remitting phases of the disease, the gradual worsening of disability in progressive multiple sclerosis results from complex immune mechanisms and neurodegeneration. A few anti-inflammatory disease-modifying therapies with a modest but significant effect on measures of disease progression have been approved for the treatment of progressive multiple sclerosis. The treatment effect of anti-inflammatory agents is particularly observed in the subgroup of patients with younger age and evidence of disease activity. For this reason, a significant effort is underway to develop molecules with the potential to induce myelin repair or halt the degenerative process. Appropriate trial methodology and the development of clinically meaningful disability outcome measures along with imaging and biological biomarkers of progression have a significant impact on the ability to measure the efficacy of potential medications that may reverse disease progression. In this issue, we will review current evidence on the physiopathology, diagnosis, measurement of disability, and treatment of progressive multiple sclerosis.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited