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Fast Forward, LLC Funding Research to Screen for Compounds that Stimulate Myelin Repair in MS

August 20, 2012

Fast Forward, LLC, a not-for-profit subsidiary of the National MS Society, is funding research at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, UK to screen for compounds that can stimulate myelin repair in MS. Myelin is the substance that surrounds nerve fibers and is a target of the immune attack on the brain and spinal cord in MS.

The project, which will be directed by Robin Franklin, PhD, DVM, grew out of findings from a Nervous System Repair and Protection Initiative funded through the Society’s Promise:2010 campaign. Drs. Franklin and Charles ffrench-Constant, PhD (University of Edinburgh) found a molecule called RXR-gamma that is “turned on” following myelin damage, and which play a role in forming new myelin. Now Dr. Franklin is being funded to find molecules that can stimulate RXR-gamma. The award provides Dr. Franklin with $200,000 over a 12-month period that started July 13, and like other Fast Forward partnerships, payments will be contingent upon the completion of specific milestones.

Dr. Franklin and colleagues are working with Domainex, a drug discovery company that has an exceptional track record of drug candidate delivery. Dr. Franklin’s team and Domainex are using a proven virtual screening method that will allow them to identify a library of about 1,000 molecules that can promote RXR activity.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the world class team of scientists led by Dr. Franklin,” said Dr. Timothy Coetzee, Chief Research Officer at the National MS Society. “Driving research to restore function in people with MS is a critical component of the Society’s research strategy.”

Read more about efforts to restore function to people with MS.

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.