Jan 28, 2013
DENVER - The National MS Society announced more than $1 million in funding for two Colorado-based MS research projects. The funding of these investigations brings the total to eight multi-year research endeavors funded by the Society in Colorado.
Linda Watkins, Ph.D., a distinguished professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Boulder, was awarded $555,077 to investigate a new delivery method of an immune system molecule that could slow or stop MS attacks. Jeff Herbert, PT, Ph.D. assistant professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Neurology at the University of Colorado Denver– Anschutz Medical Campus, received $536,295 to research the potential of balance and eye movement training for improving mobility in people with MS.
The Society is the largest private funder of MS research in the world and its efforts focus on three key areas - stopping MS, restoring function lost due to MS and ending MS forever. In 2012 the Society invested $44 million to support 325 research projects worldwide.
Highlights of the sweeping advances that occurred during the year include:
- FDA approval of Aubagio, the second oral therapy for relapsing forms of MS;
- The launch of the International Progressive MS Collaborative, the largest effort to date to speed research to stop progressive forms of MS;
- The discovery of what could be a target of the immune attack in people with MS, which may lead to a new understanding of the disease and new treatment strategies;
- The completion of the first human trial of an experimental therapy targeting myelin repair;
- Progress in restoring functions using innovative rehabilitation techniques, including memory enhancement involving stories and imagery to solidify learning, and improving balance and mobility with specific exercises; and
- Advances in uncovering MS triggering factors, bringing researchers closer to finding ways to prevent the disease.
“This has been an extraordinary year in advancing MS research and treatment,” said Carrie Nolan, president, Colorado-Wyoming Chapter, National MS Society. “The 2012 research achievements convey the dramatic advances that are occurring in treating and understanding MS. In less than two decades, MS has gone from an untreatable disease to one with nine therapies for relapsing MS, the most common form of the disease, with another half dozen in late stage development or already before the FDA for approval,” Nolan emphasized.
“These advancements have been made possible due to the Society’s focused commitment to research that is unlocking the mysteries surrounding this disease and will ultimately lead to a cure,” she continued. “Thanks to the generous support of communities throughout Colorado and Wyoming, the Chapter was able to contribute more than $1 million to the Society’s global research efforts for the third year in a row.
“The Society’s research initiative – No Opportunity Wasted (NOW) – will increase the Society’s investment in MS research to $250 million by 2015, which is a bold commitment,” Nolan added.
MS interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body by destroying myelin, the protective insulation surrounding nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord, leaving scars of hardened “sclerotic” tissue. This scar tissue interferes with the transmission of nerve signals. The nerve damage causes symptoms ranging from visual impairment, vertigo and fatigue to balance issues, tremors, and cognitive and sensory problems depending on where the nerve damage occurs. Currently there is no known cause, no known prevention and no cure.
“This is a time of great promise for people with MS, with more therapies available than ever before. We are grateful to all the scientists whose work is moving us closer to ending MS,” Nolan added.
For more information on MS, resources and research, visit www.cureMSco-wy.org.
About the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society
The Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National MS Society was founded in 1959 and provides comprehensive programs and advocacy to assist and empower the more than 100,000 individuals residing in Colorado and Wyoming who are affected by MS annually. The Colorado-Wyoming Chapter is also a driving force of research for the prevention, treatment and cure of MS and contributes funds to support 325 National MS Society research projects worldwide – eight of which are located in Colorado. The Chapter has offices in Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Cheyenne and Casper serving the Colorado and Wyoming communities.
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. The Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move forward with their lives. In 2012 alone, through its national office and 50-state network of chapters, the Society devoted $164 million to programs and services that assisted more than one million people. To move us closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested $44 million to support more than 325 new and ongoing research projects around the world. The Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Join the movement at nationalMSsociety.org.
Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS Society at nationalMSsociety.org or 1-800-FIGHT-MS (344-4867).
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 2.1 million people worldwide.