The Promise 2010 campaign is an initiative of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to target four highly promising and potentially expensive areas in MS research, programs, and care that could dramatically impact future disease management and lead to a cure. Each of these areas of study were demonstrably under-funded until the Society provided focus with a commitment of $30 million over the next five years in new research dollars, above and beyond the Society's annual $35 million spending on MS research projects and fellowships, which is already more than any other MS organization in the world.
The Promise 2010 campaign targets four specific areas:
- Nervous system repair and protection
- Pediatric MS Centers (management and care, and ultimately, research)
- The Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study
- The MS Lesion Project
The Greater New England Chapter has continued its outstanding commitment to fund MS research by pledging $2,002,010 to the Promise 2010 campaign.
The Society's effort to foster promising yet under-funded research began in 2000 with the Research Challenge of Champions, which exceeded its goal of $20 million in five years (including $1.5 million from the Greater New England Chapter). That first group of four study areas included the Slifka Longitudinal Study and the MS Lesion Project in addition to the following two topics, which as a result have gained significant and stable funding:
The Chapter is particularly proud that four of these six ground-breaking projects are taking place within our Chapter territory.
- Palmer Collaborative MS Research Center Award: MS Targeted Haplotype Project - Dr. David Hafler, Broad Institute, Cambridge, Mass. Applying the knowledge of the human genome to find the genes that make the immune system susceptible to MS. A unique collaboration among Harvard Medical School the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a number of other outstanding US and international institutions.
- Nervous System Repair & Protection - Dr. David Rowitch, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. Dr. Rowitch is the US member of the University of Cambridge (UK) team that is working to restore myelin by identifying and amplifying natural repair factors in the brain and by attempting transplantation of replacement cells.
- Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence (Partners Pediatric MS Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston) - Project director: Tanuja Chitnis, MD. The Society's Promise 2010 initiative created a nationwide network of six Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence. Of the six, only two are already operational, including the Partners Pediatric MS Center.
- The Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study - Dr. Sarah Minden, Abt Associates, Cambridge, Mass. Tracks a large, diverse sample of people with MS, looking for patterns that will lead to better treatments and possibly even a cure.