Novartis joins the global Multiple Sclerosis (MS) community today in recognition of World MS Day, with its ‘24 Life Hacks in 24 Hours’ initiative. Today people with MS can check out a range of top tips from the #MSLifeHacks campaign where one helpful tip, creative short cut, or clever idea to live well with MS will be shared online every hour for 24 hours. Novartis’ ongoing #MSLifeHacks campaign is hosted on the Living Like You global online platform. Since its launch in February 2015, the campaign has garnered 130,000 site visits and provided access to a wide range of supportive information for many people living with MS, and all who have been touched by the condition.
World MS Day was created by the Multiple Sclerosis International Foundation (MSIF) in 2009 to raise global awareness of MS. The theme of this year’s World MS Day is ‘access’- the equality of access to diagnosis, treatment and support; access to travel and leisure facilities; and access to education and employment. Living Like You is aimed at empowering and supporting those living with and impacted by MS, and further demonstrates how Novartis is committed to improving access and breaking down the barriers for patients living with MS.
David Epstein, Division Head, Novartis Pharmaceuticals said:
Giving people with MS access to more than treatments, and bringing the MS community together to share stories, is vital to helping people with MS live a better life irrespective of their circumstances with this debilitating disease, #MSLifeHacks and our online platform Living Like You are great examples of how we are using digital and social media to give people access to information that is written by people with MS for people with MS, to help them understand the complex nature of the disease
In addition to driving access to online information, Novartis is also supporting a Europe-wide initiative to provide access to employment opportunities for young people with MS, and is proud be a part of the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP) ‘Believe and Achieve’ project. ‘Believe and Achieve’ provides young people with MS opportunities to work in paid, supported, and mentored work-placements, and since its launch in January 2015, Novartis has engaged interns in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, with several positions currently available in the Czech Republic, Ireland and France.
EMSP’s Chief Executive, Maggie Alexander said:
A major concern for people with MS is how their illness will affect their ability and potential to work. Believe and Achieve helps provide young people with MS access to work opportunities that they might otherwise not have, and we welcome the involvement of Novartis in this important initiative
Symptoms of MS, such as fatigue and cognition difficulties, balance issues and blurred vision can make the workplace a challenge for people living with MS. Only half of those employed at the time of their MS diagnosis remain at work ten years later1, but employers can make a difference by adopting simple measures such as flexible hours, adjustable computers and desks, seated work, and ensuring a supportive inclusive workplace.
You can follow #MSLifeHacks on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, or find out more about Believe and Achieve through the links below:
About Living Like You
The Novartis-supported Living Like You (www.livinglikeyou.com) is an online resource community that features magazine-style content detailing the journey through the realities of life with MS by offering insights from people who live with the disease. Providing access to relevant information online is important as people with MS are up to three times more likely to be online compared to people with other diseases3; in fact, MS is mentioned online every 13 seconds. The Living Like You ‘24 Life Hacks in 24 Hours’ initiative is part of our broader #MSLifeHacks campaign, where the company has committed to releasing 365 clever ideas - one a day for an entire year - for the MS community. Since its launch in February 2014, Living Like You has garnered more than a half a million site visits and over 60,000 social engagements.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord through inflammation and tissue loss4. The evolution of MS results in an increasing loss of both physical and cognitive (e.g. memory) function5. This has a substantial negative impact on the approximately 2.3 million people worldwide affected by MS6, a disease that most often begins in early adulthood.
People with MS can be diagnosed with relapsing forms of MS (RMS), which include relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) and secondary progressive MS (SPMS)8, or with primary progressive MS (PPMS).
The loss of physical and cognitive function in RMS is driven by two types of damage that result in the loss of neurons and brain tissue - distinct inflammatory lesions (referred to as focal damage), and more widespread inflammatory neurodegenerative processes (referred to as diffuse damage). Focal damage results in the loss of brain tissue and can clinically present as relapses. Diffuse damage starts early in the disease, often goes unnoticed and is also associated with loss of brain tissue and accumulated loss of function.
About Novartis in Multiple Sclerosis
Novartis is committed to the research and development of new treatment options to offer the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, to meet patients’ needs at every stage of disease with innovative and targeted drugs.
The Novartis MS portfolio includes Gilenya® (fingolimod) and Extavia® (interferon beta-1b for subcutaneous injection). In addition to the ongoing development program for Gilenya in pediatric MS and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), investigational compounds include BAF312, currently in phase III clinical development and being investigated as an oral therapy for secondary progressive MS (SPMS). Novartis is also exploring the IL-17 pathway in MS.