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Society’s Fast Forward Program Funds New Biomarker Studies to Speed the Testing of New MS Therapies

November 15, 2019

The National MS Society, through its Fast Forward drug development program, is investing in two new projects that leverage ongoing MS clinical trials that are testing new approaches to treating MS. The Fast Forward funding is being applied to search for markers in blood or spinal fluid that may indicate that the therapies are having positive effects.
The identified biomarkers, once they are validated, could be applied to future MS trials to provide a faster readout on whether a potential therapy has benefits for stopping MS, protecting the nervous system, or repairing nerve-insulating myelin.
“These latest Fast Forward programs leverage millions of dollars already invested in ongoing clinical studies,” said Mark Allegretta, PhD, Vice President of Research at the National MS Society. “This is just one of the ways the Society works to accelerate research to improve clinical care for people living with MS.”
Following are the latest Fast Forward investments:
  • Clene Nanomedicine: This company is supporting a phase 2 clinical trial in Australia involving people with MS to see if a compound called Biocatalytic Nanocrystalline Gold (CNM-Au8) can protect the nervous system from damage and promote myelin repair by providing supportive energy to brain cells. With this Fast Forward investment, the team will measure and track blood markers in trial participants to help determine whether the compound is facilitating myelin repair and neuroprotection.
  • BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics: This company is supporting a multicenter phase 2 clinical trial to see if repeated spinal fluid infusions of individuals’ own bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells which have been transformed to secrete nerve growth factors (NurOwn®) can protect the nervous system from damage and promote myelin repair in participants with progressive MS. Fast Forward funding will be applied to search for biomarkers in serum or spinal fluid that might serve as early indicators that this therapy has benefits.
A new Request for Proposals has been released by Fast Forward to fund commercial development opportunities for symptom management in MS. Such symptoms include mobility problems, fatigue, pain, cognitive impairment, mood changes, spasticity, and bowel or bladder dysfunction.
Learn more about Fast Forward

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. 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. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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