Over $2.4 million has been committed by the National MS Society (USA) and the MS Society of Canada to support 7 new research projects focusing on the role of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) in MS.
All research applications underwent a rigorous expedited review process by an international review panel that included experts drawn from all key relevant disciplines including radiology, vascular surgery and neurology. The U.S. National MS Society and the MS Society of Canada worked collaboratively to assemble the reviewers who considered scientific merit, responsiveness to the Request for Applications, experimental design, likelihood of producing definitive data, and the experience of the applicant teams in making their recommendations.
These studies are necessary because we don’t yet know whether, or if so how, CCSVI contributes to MS disease activity. They will achieve several important goals. First, the studies are carrying out significant steps needed to confirm the phenomenon originally described by Dr. Paolo Zamboni who reported abnormalities in the veins draining the brain and spinal cord in people with MS and resolve the questions raised by him and others as to whether CCSVI is a cause of MS or related to MS in some other manner. Second, these studies will determine how frequently CCSVI occurs in MS, and how often it occurs in people who do not have MS. Third, if blockages are found, the findings will speed the way to determining whether therapeutic trials to correct them will be helpful in improving or altering MS disease process. Although there were a number of promising submissions, for this initial round of grants, the international review panel recommended studies they agreed combined the strongest science with the research goals necessary to most quickly determine the scope and meaning of reported abnormalities in blood drainage from the brain and spinal cord in MS. It is hoped these findings will provide clarity regarding the need for next-step therapeutic trials to correct such blockages as Societies around the world pursue. The two-year grants began on July 1, 2010.
Initial seven funded studies
The work of the researchers in these initial studies will not involve the actual treatment of CCSVI, but rather the investigation and determination of its prevalence in different circumstances.
The funded teams, which include an integration of MS and vascular experts, are:
As part of our commitment to keeping people with MS and the public informed of progress, researchers have been providing 6-month interim updates to the National MS Society on their grant progress, and we have been posting information as it becomes available.
The U.S. and Canadian MS Societies are working with the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation and other MS Societies from around the world to ensure coordination of information and to share research data from ongoing work that is underway around the world – further speeding progress.
Additional research opportunities
New CCSVI grants are only one of many exciting research avenues that address ways to stop MS progression, restore function and end MS forever. To support MS research, including CCSVI research, please have individuals email their full name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.