The major goals of multiple sclerosis (MS) genetic research are to identify the genes that influence disease susceptibility and the progression of symptoms. Knowing what these genes are and what they do will help researchers to understand the causes of MS and its progression. Armed with this knowledge we will be in better position to predict a person’s prognosis and design new and more effective treatments.

The Australian MS genetics research effort focuses on identifying the genes that influence the progression of MS and lead to relapses. The project is broken into three components:

  • Phase 1 - was the development of the MS Gene Bank. This has been successful in pooling Australia's MS samples to increase the reliability of results from MS genetics studies.

  • Phase 2 - saw the first samples undergo gene-mapping and analysis at the University of Queensland in early 2008. The MS Gene Bank continues to accept samples from People with MS.

  • Phase 3 - measures the amount of gene product in blood from samples from People with Primary Progressive MS, Relapsing Remitting MS, Secondary Progressive MS and People without MS. 

The MS genetics team is a national, collaborative effort between a multi-disciplinary team of neurologists, geneticists, bioinformaticians and molecular biologists. MS Research Australia has a secretariat function.

MS Research Australia is grateful for contributions from the John T Reid Charitable Trusts, the Trish MS Research Foundation, individual donors and an Australian Research Council linkage grant, for making this major collaboration possible.


For some of the recent progress made by the ANZgene team, please visit the following pages:

International MS Genetics Consortium, including ANZgene, link 57 gene regions to MS susceptibility

ANZgene consortium find microRNA changes in MS

ANZgene researchers make double DNA discovery


If you have MS, consider becoming involved with the MS Gene Bank.

Please call your local clinical contact for more information

Location Clinical Contact Phone Number
Sydney Theresa Burke, Westmead Hospital 02 9845 7997
Newcastle Susan Agland, John Hunter Hospital 02 4985 5880
Tasmania Carol Hurst, Menzies Institute for Medical Research 07 5678 0750
Queensland Susan Freeman, Griffith University 07 5678 0750