The MS Research Program (MSRP)
is part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program located within the Department of Defense and funds important innovative MS research. On December 12, 2017 President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act, legislation that authorizes the MRRP to exist.
Since its creation in 2009, the MSRP has funded more than $40 million dollars’ worth of MS research that is aimed at ways to reduce disease progression, reverse damage, and identify a cure with the goal of enabling those serving our country who develop MS to continue their service, improve health outcomes and reverse the impact of MS on service rank. Additionally, the MSRP allows those living with MS to serve on consumer review panels, which allow the research to quickly respond to the research needs of those living with MS.
A 2003 Annals of Neurology review found that 5,345 veterans who served in Vietnam and the first Gulf War have been diagnosed with MS that was deemed "service-connected." The relative risk for developing MS was also significantly higher for this group of veterans than those who served in World War II and the Korean War. Currently, , more than 23,000 veterans living with MS receive care through the Veterans Health Administration. This year, the MSRP will receive an additional $6 million this fiscal year to fund additional MS research.
“I am greatly relieved that the MSRP)in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program was preserved in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.” says Larry S. Sherman, Ph.D., Professor, Division of Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University. “This program has been a critical source of funding for researchers looking for treatments and cures for MS, allowing us to pursue highly innovative approaches that would not otherwise be possible. My own research, focused on finding ways to promote nervous system repair, would be set back 5-10 years without these funds.”
Frank Austin, a fellow MS activist and veteran agrees. ““MS research in general and specifically the MSRP is personal. I'm a veteran that served for 8 1/2 years. I've lived with MS half my life now. I have a family history of MS (a half-sister and our aunt diagnosed with MS).I have a son and 4 grandchildren. I do not want my legacy to be that they continued the MS saga. Disease modifying therapies are not enough! I want to see research on what went wrong with the immune system. Only then can research search for a cure. At minimum I want to see MS become an acute condition rather than a chronic condition. I want to know the basic What, When, Where, How and Why of MS.”
Last year, the National MS Society nominated MS activist John Platt to serve as a consumer reviewer for the MSRP
. Mr. Platt was selected to serve in this role and he participated in the evaluation of research applications that were submitted to the MSRP for funding for funding As a consumer reviewer, he was a full voting member, (along with prominent scientists) at meetings to help determine what MS research will be funded within the MSRP.
Learn more about MS research funding here.