MS cure one step closer with ‘major’ discovery

A group of international scientists, including an Australian contingent, has discovered 48 previously unknown genes that influence the risk of developing MS.

The discovery is a step towards finding a cure and further treatment for the debilitating condition, said University of Sydney Associate Professor David Booth, who led the Australian and New Zealand component of the study.

"The exciting thing about this is we have doubled the number of genes that we now know are associated with MS," he told AAP.

"What that means is every one of those new genes is potentially providing us with a new way to understand the disease and to come up with new therapies for the disease."

Researchers believe the findings underline the central role the immune system plays in the development of MS.

The results also show an overlap with genes found to be linked to other autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and coeliac disease.