Rationale: Genes are known to play a role in determining who is susceptible to developing multiple sclerosis, and may also influence the course of the disease. People living with MS can make a difference in studies searching for these genes by donating their DNA from blood samples. Identifying the exact location of MS genes could help determine who is at risk for developing the disease and may provide clues to its cause, prevention, and better treatment. Focusing on ethnic groups with lower susceptibility to MS (such as African-Americans) and higher susceptibility (such as individuals of Northern European descent), and searching for what is common and what is different in their genes may help pinpoint regions that contain MS genes. Large numbers of participants are needed to accelerate this research.
Details: It is not necessary to travel to San Francisco to participate in this study. Once an individual has gone through the initial phone screening and has agreed to participate, they are sent a kit via express mail. The kit includes a consent form, a health information privacy form, and a medical records release form (only for participants with MS). The kit also includes everything necessary for the blood draw, which can be taken to a local lab or clinic, where the blood can be drawn and then returned in a prepaid envelope to the UCSF MS Genetics Lab. There is no cost to the study participants.
At all times, records and other information that is shared with investigators are handled in a confidential manner. There is no charge for participation.