Dr Iain Comerford, originally from Glasgow, who is working with MS Research Australia on a fellowship at the University of Adelaide, has managed to stop progression of the disease in mice using a new drug.
The drug blocks the activity of a molecule known as PI3Kgamma, which is involved in the activation and movement of white blood cells, and protects against the damage to the nervous system associated with MS.
Blocking the molecule reduces the release of inflammation-inducing molecules from immune cells and also dramatically decreases the movement of immune cells into the central nervous system.
The research has already discovered new ways to treat human inflammatory disorders, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and has now been extended to MS.
Dr Comerford, a former Glasgow University student who also trained at the Beatson Institute, said human trials of the drug are already under way in other labs around the world.
However, he said it would be at least another five years before any treatment is made available to humans.
He said: "It will now be crucial to determine whether targeting these molecules could be a safe and effective way to treat MS in humans.
"In the animal model, it was preventive and also we could reverse the disease, but it remains to be seen whether that also happens in human beings.
"We've inhibited an enzyme, PI3Kgamma, which is involved in the activation and migration of white blood cells.
"The white blood cells have to move from the blood into the nervous system to do damage in MS.
"By doing that, we reduce the activation of the white blood cells and reduce the migration of the cells into the central nervous system."
Jeremy Wright, chief executive of MS research Australia, said: "We will await his further results with great interest."
MS is a progressive disease where the body attacks its own central nervous system, causing nerve inflammation and scarring.
It results in the impairment of motor, sensory and cognitive function.
More than 10,000 people in Scotland, around one in 500, suffer from the disease – the highest prevalence of any country in the world.
In 2010, Harry Potter author JK Rowling donated £10 million to set up a clinic to research treatments for multiple sclerosis after the disease killed her mother Anne at the age of 45.
The Anne Rowling regenerative neurology clinic is currently being built at Edinburgh University and will carry out research into a range of degenerative neurological conditions and diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and motor neurone disease.