The underlying pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis is presumed to be autoimmune in nature. Attempts to find an effective treatment for this common disease of the central nervous system have primarily focused on immune- mediated therapies, both immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory. The wide variety of immunological abnormalities detected in multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, has prompted the testing of a diverse array of drugs to be used for treatment. Recent successes in the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis with interferon β and glatiramer acetate have renewed interest in and raised expectations for the effective control of this neurological disorder. Improved methodology in clinical trials, the development of surrogate markers and the availability of novel therapies bode well for more rapid advances.