Lineagen, a molecular diagnostics company, and Fast Forward, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, are joining forces to develop a test for multiple sclerosis. The goal is to develop a test that can aid clinicians in diagnosing MS and provide the prognostic information needed to help guide treatment decisions and response to therapies.
Under terms of the sponsored research agreement, Fast Forward is committing $622,000 to establish and validate an array of biomarkers for MS, including genes associated with predisposition to the disease and blood-based markers that have diagnostic and prognostic potential. The funding will support an ongoing clinical program that is being conducted under the teams of John W. Rose, M.D., professor of neurology at the University of Utah and Mark Leppert, Ph.D., professor of human genetics at the University of Utah.
Lineagen, based in Salt Lake City, is focused on diagnostic and consultative services for complex genetic disorders.
Thanks to hard work by Society activists, an aggressive form of MS now qualifies for the Compassionate Allowances Program, which expedites the review of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications at the Social Security Administration. Thanks to passionate and articulate testimony by MS Activists Dr. John Booss and Yvonne Brown at a March 2011 Autoimmune Hearing held by the Social Security Administration, “malignant MS” was added to the Compassionate Allowances List, allowing people with more aggressive forms of the disease to qualify for SSDI more quickly.
The National MS Society has been at the forefront of building awareness for multiple sclerosis and everyone affected by it since 1946. In general, the disease and the Society are better known today than in the past, but more must be done to garner attention, engagement and support.
In 2006, the Society took a significant step forward by evolving our organizational brand. The new brand platform reflects the powerful voice, optimism, and energy demonstrated by people living with the disease.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
Moving forward, the Society will focus its efforts on how we partner with everyone in the movement to generate increased awareness and support. People affected by MS are at the center of the movement, and as our partners, are the keys to successful awareness building and engagement. We are in a strong and growing position to do more.
HOW FAR WE’VE COME
Recognized as the industry leader in online giving and social media engagement by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Over 110,000 Facebook fans on the national Facebook page and an estimated reach of over 250,000 people when combined with chapter and event pages.
Of the organizations mentioned in media related to MS, the Society garners more than 84% of all mentions.
Unique website visitors (1.6 million) and total website visits (2.22 million) are growing each year — some in double digit increases.
OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DO MORE
Engaging others as part of the MS movement is the required outcome of our Society-wide awareness efforts. This means engagement in ALL areas — more people participating as fundraisers through events and their own endeavors to raise support, increasing numbers of donors, more activists engaging on the front lines, more people sharing with each other and positively impacting life with MS, more professionals engaged in research and treating people with the disease, more people talking about what MS means and what others can do about it NOW.