The SMSC consortium was established in 2012 and includes eight Swiss MS centres (five university and three cantonal hospitals). Its purposes are to achieve a deeper understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools that can be translated into the clinical care of persons with MS. The SMSC collects 6-monthly or annually prospective long-term clinical and radiological data, as well as biological samples for discovery and validation of novel biomarkers.

The SMSC is one of the largest clinical MS research databases worldwide with > 1700 patients prospectively recruited (median follow-up time 6.5 years of >13 000 documented visits, as of August 2023). It has developed critical expertise in the standardization and integration of high quality clinical data (i.e. patient examinations are performed by Neurostatus® certified examiners in >90% of the cases), imaging data (>9000 brain MRI scans have been acquired and evaluated according to a pre-defined standard protocol and standard-operating procedures across all centres), and over 300’ 000 (95% coverage of all visits) samples (cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), serum/plasma/whole blood) have been banked.

The SMSC has established data quality control mechanisms including automated and manual data querying. The analysis of MRI data is performed by the Translational Imaging in Neurology (ThINk) Basel group led by Prof C. Granziera ( /)).

Integrated research projects

The SMSC aims to develop biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and individualised therapy choices in people with MS. For example, as a results of the SMSC biological sample collection, neurofilament light chain (NfL), a specific component of the neural cytoskeleton, was established as a sensitive measure of MS disease activity. 

Conventional and next generation MRI measures together with fluid and digital biomarkers will help personalize treatment options in MS.


As of 7 August 2023
(database still recruiting)


8 (Aarau, Basel (Data Centre), Bern, Geneve, Lausanne, Lugano, St. Gallen, Zürich)

Key Data
  • 1721 patients
  • 13’287 visits (median follow-up 6.2 years)
  • more than 95% of visits with biosample coverage
  • more than 95% of visits with biosample coverage
  • 10717 NfL measurements
  • 725 prospective clinical relapses documented
  • 7275 standardised and evaluated brain MRI examinations

Key Ongoing research project:
DreaMS validation 1 study

personalized medicine in Multiple SClerosis – pRagmatIc Platform Trial embedded within the Swiss MS Cohort (SMSC)

The following research topics are currently under investigation within the SMSC (selection):
  • Targeted (Neurofilament light chain (NfL), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)) and untargeted (proteomic) biomarker approaches to capture MS disease activity and progression from extreme phenotype cohorts to broad and clinical application
  • Conventional and next generation clinical, imaging investigations of disease progression and treatment response
  • Digital biomarkers development to provide continuous measures of disease worsening (DREAMS: add link)
  • Development, validation and translation of CSF to blood biomarkers and their association with MS disease activity
  • Pragmatic trials (e.g. MultiSCRIPT) and advanced statistical methods of comparative treatment efficacy in real world
  • Optical coherence tomography and evoked potentials to better characterise the MS disease course
  • MS treatment during pregnancy and Quality of Life outcomes
  • Disease severity and immune response against Covid-19