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Update: Canadian Government Seeks Proposals for Clinical Trial to Treat CCSVI – Society’s funded CCSVI researchers are among those advising the agency on protocol strategies

December 1, 2011

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) announced last week its intention to release a Request for Proposals that seeks grant applications from researchers to conduct an early-phase clinical trial in Canada to test the ability of a surgical procedure called balloon venoplasty to improve blood drainage in individuals with MS who have been identified as having CCSVI (chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency). The request for research proposals, now active, is a collaborative initiative between the CIHR and the MS Society of Canada.

Currently, there have been conflicting reports about whether and to what extent CCSVI impacts MS disease activity. Although some individuals who have MS have undergone this surgical procedure, there has not yet been a controlled trial to determine its effectiveness.

“We see important progress continuing to be made in advancing our understanding of CCSVI and its potential relationship to MS disease process,” commented Dr. Timothy Coetzee, Chief Research Officer of the U.S. National MS Society. “Our funded CCSVI researchers have been serving on the scientific working group that is advising the CIHR on this matter,” he continued. “We look forward to learning more as this initiative moves forward.”

Seven studies (link to Jun 11, 2010 news article) were launched on July 1, 2010 with a more than $ 2.4 million commitment from the MS Society of Canada and the U.S. National MS Society. The research teams have recruited a broad spectrum of people with MS and others to build understanding of who may be affected by CCSVI. In addition, they have been refining CCSVI imaging methods for accuracy and consistency to reliably validate the occurrence of CCSVI and understand its implications in the MS disease process.

Read the first-year progress reports from the seven multi-disciplinary teams investigating CCSVI in 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.

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