The National MS Society is committed to finding new treatments and the cure for multiple sclerosis. Each year the Upstate New York Chapter hosts more than 30 fundraising events which, combined with individual donations, help fund MS research.
In October 2011, the Society launched the MS NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) research campaign, which is dedicated to stopping disease progression, restoring lost functions, and ending MS forever. The National MS Society supports and funds research activities spanning all research stages, including early discovery research, translational research that brings promising ideas forward into actual therapeutic solutions for testing, and clinical trials. Our unique approach drives the pursuit of all promising avenues that can impact those living with multiple sclerosis.
If you would like to make a donation to support the NOW campaign and fuel progress in MS research, click here.
There are researchers in Upstate New York who are currently funded by the Society and working hard to find answers now.
Society-Funded MS Researchers in Upstate New York
Dr. Matthew Bellizzi, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Matthew Bellizzi, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Rochester, was awarded $263,622 to research what contributes to the loss of nerve function in multiple sclerosis and to find ways to protect the nervous system from damage. This research could provide important information and techniques for developing treatments to limit nervous system damage in MS and its resulting progressive disability. Dr. Bellizzi is looking at the development of nerve damage in mice with EAE, an animal disease similar to MS. He is also developing a system to assess nerve damage that could be useful for pre-clinical testing of drugs with the potential to slow or block that damage.
Dr. Ralph Benedict, Ph.D.
Dr. Ralph Benedict, Ph.D., at Buffalo General Medical Center, is investigating whether loss of nerve tissue in the brain and spinal cord during the course of MS affects personality or behavioral changes. He is also seeking to determine the impact of personality on disease course and quality of life. Dr. Benedict’s team is measuring personality and behavior patterns over three years in 100 people with relapsing-remitting or secondary-progressive MS and 34 controls without MS. They are administering standard neuropsychological tests as well as MRI scans and then correlate specific changes in personality with specific types of brain tissue loss. This study could open the door to better psychological screening methods and preventative therapies.
Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D.
Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Rochester Medical Center, received a research grant of $851,630 to follow up on studies conducted in the context of the Society’s Promise: 2010 Nervous System Repair initiative. Dr. Goldman and his team is using an innovative “humanized” model to manipulate and understand the behavior of human progenitors during the process of repeated myelin damage and myelin repair, similar to what occurs in MS. The ability to study the behavior of human progenitor cells in the process of myelin destruction and repair will provide novel information that should better inform potential repair therapies for people with MS.
Murali Ramanathan, Ph.D.
Murali Ramanathan, Ph.D., with The Research Foundation of SUNY Buffalo, received a $704,784 research grant to study the role of cholesterol and related substances to guide diet and lifestyle choices that will improve disease outcomes in people with MS. The results of Dr. Ramanathan’s study, “Lipoprotein and lipid metabolism in MS disease progression”, may allow better management of MS as they could be used to guide therapies, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices to reduce MS disease progression. Dr. Ramanathan and his colleagues, Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, Robert Zivadinov and Richard Browne, are looking at cholesterol and related molecules in people with MS to see if there is a relationship between amounts of cholesterol and various cholesterol-related molecules found in blood and MS disease activity, disability progression, and brain integrity.
Dr. Jessica Robb, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Jessica Robb, M.D., a neurologist at the MS Center at the University of Rochester, was awarded a $65,000 Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care Physician Fellowship to obtain highly specialized training in MS care. This is the first time someone from Upstate New York has been chosen for the award, which has Robb working a specific number of days at the clinic each week, mentored by a physician specializing in MS care, performing new patient consultations and follow-up evaluations.