I read the “Big Gene” study yesterday and it simply tells us what we already know, most of the identified genes for MS are related to the immune system. This is not a surprise given that there is no doubt the immune system plays a significant role in MS.
However, the question remains, is the immune component primary or secondary. The current data we have now best fits with the model that MS is primarily a neurodegenerative disease and that the immune response is secondary. Whether or not CCSVI drives the primary neurodegeneration is beside the point. All we can say is that CCSVI is currently the best candidate for causing the primary neurodegeneration and, until a better candidate comes along, I’ll accept CCSVI as the primary driver of MS.
Basically all the “Big Gene” study tells us is that most persons with MS are genetically susceptible to developing a dysregulated immune system due to one or more environmental factors such as an EBV infection at the time of low immune regulation (ie low vitamin D). When such a dysregulated immune system meets all the myelin antigens released due to primary neurodegeneration, you end up with MS. This model - primary neurodegeneration followed by a genetically and environmentally generated dysregulated immune response - explains everything we know about MS.
A recent paper on MS as a neurodegenerative disease expresses this well. Stys (2010) writes “one could equally argue that the strong genetic influence simply reflects a genetic bias of the aberrant immune system, rather than of the "real" disease itself.”
The “real disease” referred to by Stys is primary degeneration presumably caused by CCSVI. For those interested in all the arguments which support MS as a primary degenerative disease, I highly recommend the Stys (2010) paper (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21246931
It is not surprising that Compston and Haffler are fighting CCSVI because they both have huge financial ties to the MS pharmaceutical industry and are "big names" in the MS research world. The anti-CCSVI press release on their findings is just more propaganda to fight the CCSVI steamroller that threatens their financial well being, not to mention their lofty standing in the MS reseach world. It is sad to see them stoop to this new low, but cash flow and academic reputation trump everything in the world of MS "research".