• What is this study?

    What is this study?

  • What causes multiple sclerosis?

    What causes multiple sclerosis?

    MS is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors...

  • How will we do it?

    How will we do it?

    All of us harbor billions of bacteria in our gut. This is normal and healthy. However the exact composition of those bacteria may influence our risk of getting MS...

  • Why study bacteria?

    Why study bacteria?

    Bacteria are a big part of us! In fact our bodies contain ten times more bacterial cells than human cells...

  • What can be done with this information?

    What can be done with this information?

    One of the major determinants of our gut microbiota is our diet. While eating a healthy diet is always beneficial, it is also possible to alter our gut microbiota by altering what we eat...

Welcome to the iMSMS

We will investigate the role of gut bacteria (microbiota) and their genes (microbiome) in multiple sclerosis (MS) and use that understanding to design a clinical trial that will evaluate an entirely new approach to the treatment of multiple sclerosis.


Interested in participating in this study? Please fill out this eligibility survey to get started.

About the iMSMS

Although the field of microbiome research is in its infancy, we already know that microbial species and their products influence many critical functions in their hosts, including digestion, the supply of essential nutrients and vitamins, and the regulation of immune functions.  The technology required to undertake a comprehensive examination of the gut microbiota and its role in MS has recently emerged.  To take advantage of this technology we have assembled an international team of relevant experts and MS research centers to complete a large and very detailed study of how the microbiota of individual patients impacts their MS susceptibility, progression, and response to treatment. We know that this research will impact  our understanding of MS, and we anticipate that it will also impact our approach to its treatment and prevention.

MS susceptibility and disease course are dependent on both an individual’s genetic makeup, as well as their gut microbial environment. This study will be the first to systematically and jointly assess the effect of genetics and the environment in MS. A team of established scientists from the United States, Argentina, United Kingdom, and Spain bring expertise in microbiome research, DNA sequencing, informatics and clinical care of MS patients, and the desire to work together to tackle this exciting and important work.

This new team and program is known as the International Multiple Sclerosis Microbiome Study –  iMSMS.

The iMSMS will collect biospecimens (blood and stool) from 4,000 research subjects to catalogue individual microbiota populations and to understand which species are protective, neutral, and/or high risk.

We anticipate that the knowledge gained from this study will lead to the design of an entirely new kind of clinical trial that will test our ability to rationally manipulate the gut microbiota in order to alter the course of MS.

The results of this study stand to not only impact MS, but other immune-related disorders as well.