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Independent Review of Society's Research Programs


Society’s Research Programs Receive Kudos from Independent Review

The National MS Society recently went through an independent evaluation of our organization’s research programs. This thorough review  was conducted by FasterCures, a nonprofit center of the Milken Institute devoted to accelerating discovery and clinical development of new therapies. FasterCures focused on the Society’s strategic, diverse research portfolio aimed at stopping MS progression, restoring function, and ending MS forever through prevention.

The resulting report lauds the Society’s role as the “single organization serving as a catalyst for new research in MS.” The Society is also recognized for:

  • Generating new knowledge and feeding the intellectual pipeline, including early research investments that led to the approvals of each of the disease-modifying therapies now available to people with MS;
  • Funding the first-ever MS DNA bank, which ensured that MS  was among the first diseases subjected to a genome-wide scan using the new high throughput gene chip technology;
  • Taking a global approach to MS, such as the launch of the International MS Genetics Consortium;
  • Partnering with industry to speed drug and device development; and
  • Supporting the early career development and training of most of today’s leading MS researchers.

We are proud that FasterCures recognizes that our research outcomes have catapulted the field forward by providing new ideas, targets, pathways and tools. In fact, the Society’s research investments have produced profound shifts in thinking.  The findings in the report also provide valuable information as we work to continually improve the effectiveness of our research programs.

In the time elapsed since we began providing data for the FasterCures analysis, we have launched many new initiatives, including targeted research on risk factors for MS progression, and an international collaboration to support research to understand and confirm the role of vein obstructions (CCSVI) in the MS disease process. Our drug development subsidiary Fast Forward has also invested in ten innovative approaches to MS therapy, and created new partnerships with industry, academic centers and fellow disease organizations.

Moving forward, our strategic plan for 2011-2015 addresses the critical need to accelerate new discoveries and treatments for people with MS, including:

  • funding research aimed at specific aspects of MS and facilitating development of new treatments for the disease;
  • focusing resources on understanding progressive forms of MS and identifying the risk factors associated with disease progression;
  • enabling development of new types of clinical trials for testing potential MS therapies;
  • expanding outreach to the best scientists and clinicians;
  • fostering collaboration with individuals and organizations who share our vision; and
  • increasing the funds available for research.

We are dedicated to achieving the vision of a world free of MS. Having an independent review by the high-caliber FasterCures team validates our progress and reinforces our commitment to pursue that vision.