The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has committed another $29 million to support an expected 83 new MS research projects and training awards. These are part of a comprehensive research strategy aimed at stopping MS, restoring function that has been lost, and ending the disease forever – for every single person with MS. Here in North Florida, $44,000 of these funds will go to a pilot project at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Dr. Brad Hoffman, an immunologist at the University of Florida received a grant of $44,000 investigating a novel method of gene therapy for use in stopping the immune attack in MS models. Gene therapy is designed to introduce genetic material into cells to make a beneficial protein. A viral carrier called a vector is genetically engineered to deliver the gene. This team is studying a vector that may be used to activate a myelin protein in the liver, resulting in long-term control of inflammation. They are testing this in mouse models of MS.
“Without the support of the National MS Society, we would not be able to pursue these critical leads,” said Dr. Hoffman.
This financial commitment is the latest in the Society’s relentless research efforts to move us closer to a world free of MS, investing more than $50 million in 2014 alone to support over 380 new and ongoing studies around the world. So that no opportunity is wasted, the Society pursues all promising paths, while focusing on three priority areas: progressive MS, nervous system repair, and wellness and lifestyle.
Just a few of the new cutting-edge research projects include studies at Harvard asking whether a high-salt diet or gut bacteria contribute to causing MS or making it progressively worse; an innovative nervous system repair project in France looking at the potential of using a person’s own adult stem cells as “spare parts” for repairing the brain; and a University of Washington wellness study looking at changes in quality of life – including changes in happiness, employment abilities, and satisfaction – for individuals over the first year after their MS diagnosis.
“The broad scope of these new research investments is very exciting,” noted Corrina Steiger President of the Society’s North Florida Chapter. “While we’re driving research to stop MS, restore function and end the disease forever, at the same time we’re identifying key interventions and solutions that can help people with MS live their best lives now.”
Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. 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. Here in North Florida MS affects more than 3,000 families. Worldwide, over 2.3 million people live with the unpredictable challenges of multiple sclerosis.
“MS research is the National MS Society’s highest priority, and we are increasing our annual investments yearly to drive solutions for every single person with MS,” says Steiger. “We support and fund research activities spanning ALL research stages, including early discovery research, translational research that brings promising ideas forward into actual therapeutic solutions for testing, and clinical trials, which has resulted in new treatments and better diagnosis and disease management for people with MS.”
To find the best research with the most promise, the National MS Society relies on more than 130 world-class scientists who volunteer their time to carefully evaluate hundreds of proposals every year. This rigorous evaluation process assures that Society funds fuel research that delivers results in the shortest time possible.
There are FDA-approved therapies that can impact the underlying disease course in people with the more common forms of MS. However, none of these can stop progression or reverse the damage to restore function. National MS Society-funded research paved the way for existing therapies – none of which existed 20 years ago – and continues to be a driving force of MS research.
Download details about the new research and training awards.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts 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 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 worldwide. MS affects more than 18,000 people in the North Florida Chapter area and 2.3 million worldwide.
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The Society mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. To fulfill this mission, the Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, collaborates with MS organizations around the world, and provides programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. To move us closer to creating a world free of MS, last year alone, the Society invested nearly $50 million to support more than 380 new and ongoing research projects around the world while providing program services to over one million people. Join the movement at nationalMSsociety.org.