A new all-island research study into Multiple Sclerosis has been launched in Cork.
MS, as it is commonly known, affects more than 9,000 people in Ireland, and is the most common disabling neurological disorder among young people.
The study, which is being undertaken by Genomics Medicine Ireland, will initially invite MS patients from three hospitals in the Republic and one in Northern Ireland to take part.
It will conduct screening to identify the genetic markers that can help to diagnose, predict disease severity, and identify personalised treatments for the condition.
The hospitals included are Cork University Hospital, St Vincent’s and Tallaght in Dublin, and Altnagelvin in Co Derry.
The study will be for an initial five-year period.
This is the most comprehensive research carried out on MS in Ireland and it is planned the research project will be rolled out to other hospitals on the island.
MS is one of the most elusive diseases to diagnose as symptoms can vary widely among patients.
Genomics, the study of all of a person's genes (the genome) aims to reduce the complexity by identifying the genetic markers related to MS, thereby leading to more efficient and effective diagnosis and treatment.