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$17.5 Million in New Research Projects Launched to Stop MS, Restore Function and End it Forever

April 1, 2011

50 new grants part of nearly $40 million 2011 investment in cutting-edge research projects moving us closer to a world free of MS

The National MS Society has just committed $17.5 million to support 50 new MS research projects as part of its comprehensive strategy to stop MS in its tracks, restore function that has been lost, and end the disease forever. This financial commitment is part of the Society’s nearly $40 million 2011 investment in cutting-edge research projects.

Worldwide, over 2.1 million people live with the unpredictable challenges of multiple sclerosis. Read more about MS.

To find the best research projects, the National MS Society relies on more than 70 world-class scientists. These scientists volunteer their time to carefully evaluate hundreds of proposals every year.

The new projects support the comprehensive research goals outlined in the Society’s five-year Strategic Response, including an increased focus on understanding and stopping disease progression, supporting development of new therapies, identifying rehabilitation and other strategies to restore function, and getting more researchers and scientists focusing on MS. The new projects include:

  • clinical trials testing whether vitamin D can stop MS activity
  • a clinical trial to evaluate whether a repurposed drug, phenytoin, can protect the nervous system from MS damage;
  • investigations of mechanisms that may lead the immune system to turn against the nervous system
  • studies of natural molecules that may stimulate repair of the nervous system to restore function;
  • studies exploring novel exercise programs to combat MS symptoms; and
  • a study comparing the activity of several viruses, including Epstein-Barr virus, that may be involved in triggering immune attacks in people with MS, which may lead to clues to ending MS through prevention. Read more (link to NewResearch2011.pdf) about these projects.

There are FDA-approved therapies that can impact the underlying disease course in people with the more common forms of MS. However, none of these can stop or reverse the damage to restore function. The National MS Society-funded research helped lead to the development of many of these therapies, and continues to be a driving force of MS research. Read more about research funded by the National MS Society.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts 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 leading to better understanding and 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 2.3 million people worldwide.