Clinical Research Priority Program Multiple Sclerosis (CRPP MS)

Disease Heterogeneity of Multiple Sclerosis – From Pathogenetically Distinct Phenotypes to Novel Therapies

Mission statement

Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the most common cause of disability in young adults in the western world, is considered a prototypic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) by attacking and damaging the myelin sheaths around the axons of nerve cells and thus afflicting their ability to communicate with each other. As a consequence, almost any neurological symptom can appear with the disease, e.g. vision problems, numbness of the extremities and speech or cognitive disorders.

Thus, MS is - as the name already indicates - a diverse (heterogeneous) disease and disease progress or prognosis is not predictable at the current status. This Clinical Research Priority Program sets its focus on the elucidation of the heterogeneity of this disease. Imaging techniques, as well as immunological basic research shall identify new markers to better characterize the disease pattern. Based on these new insights, personalized and new therapy approaches will be investigated and installed. To achieve this goal, 9 groups of the university hospital Zurich, University of Zurich and ETH Zürich are working closely together to gain knowledge about the disease and new treatment options.  

The CRPP MS is divided in three research areas, intimated connected with each other: 1. Dissecting the MS phenotypes by imaging techniques, 2. Biological basis of MS/pathogenesis of MS 3. Experimental clinical trias. The CRPP serves as platform for new collaboration and units expertise of different also MS-distal research fields.  

CRPPMS Overview
CRPPMS Overview
Activitites of the CRPP MS


  • To apply state-of-the-art phenotyping algorithms and develop new approaches based on imaging-, clinical-, modeling- and neuropsychological/-psychiatric findings
  • To develop a better understanding of the underlying pathomechanisms in heterogeneous phenotypes
  • Based on the above, to develop novel treatments (e.g. neuro-/myelin protection, tolerization) and to test these in proof-of-concept trials
  • To build an internationally visible translational research focus in multiple sclerosis here in Zurich