National MS Society Launches $16 Million in New Research to Stop MS, Restore Function and End MS For - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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National MS Society Launches $16 Million in New Research to Stop MS, Restore Function and End MS Forever -- 32 new grants part of the $45.2 million 2012 investment in cutting-edge research

November 11, 2011

The National MS Society is committing $16 million to support 32 new MS research projects (.pdf) (link to NewResearchFall2011) as part of its holistic and comprehensive strategy to stop MS in its tracks, restore function that has been lost, and end the disease forever. This financial commitment is part of an anticipated investment of $45.2 million in fiscal year 2012 to support new and ongoing research projects and Fast Forward drug development partnerships.

“Our aggressive ongoing investment in MS research,” reports Cyndi Zagieboylo, president and CEO at the Society, “has resulted in new treatments, better methods of diagnosis, and improved disease management strategies for people living with MS. We will continue to ensure that no opportunity is wasted in the pursuit of all promising leads that can further our mission.”

“Most encouraging,” Ms. Zagieboylo adds, “is the fact that the magnitude of this launch is made possible by the generous support of National MS Society chapters and individual donors.”

To guarantee the scientific merit of each research proposal selected, the National MS Society relies on expert advisory committees that include more than 70 world-class scientists who volunteer their time to carefully evaluate hundreds of proposals every year.

The new projects (.pdf) (link to NewResearchFall2011) include:

  • Explorations of new approaches to promote nervous system protection and repair;
  • A clinical trial of a training technique to enhance cognitive function;
  • A new study looking at how common bacteria that live in the human body might trigger immune attacks on the nervous system in MS;
  • Health care delivery issues such as understanding the impact of out-of-pocket costs for people with MS and their families.


The new projects address research goals outlined in the Society’s Strategic Response to MS.

“This is a time of great promise for people with MS, with more therapies available than ever before, and many other novel strategies being explored in clinics and laboratories worldwide,” observed Timothy Coetzee, PhD, the Society’s Chief Research Officer. “We are grateful to these scientists collaborating around the world whose work is moving us closer to ending MS."

There are FDA-approved therapies that can impact the underlying disease course in people with the more common forms of MS. However, none of these can stop or reverse the damage to restore function. The National MS Society-funded research has helped lead to the development of many of these therapies, and it continues to be a driving force of MS research.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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