The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has committed $28 million to support an expected 84 new multiple sclerosis (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.
This financial commitment is the latest in the society's relentless research efforts to move closer to a world free of MS, and part of a projected investment of over $52 million in 2015 alone to support 380 new and ongoing studies around the world. So that no opportunity is wasted, the society pursues all promising paths, while focusing on priority areas including progressive MS, nervous system repair, gene/environmental risk factors and wellness and lifestyle.
Just a few of the new cutting-edge research projects include a University of California, San Francisco-led consortium focusing on a comprehensive analysis of the gut microbiome to develop probiotic strategies for stopping progressive MS; a pilot trial at Johns Hopkins University exploring the tolerability of a diet that intermittently restricts calorie intake as a treatment for disease activity in people with MS; preclinical studies by commercial firm Bionure to test the potential of a compound to protect the nervous system and stimulate repair of nerve-insulating myelin; and a new collaborative center at Oregon Health & Science University to research patient-centered wellness programs to improve the daily life of people with MS.
MS 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. Worldwide, over 2.3 million people live with the unpredictable challenges of MS.
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.
"MS research is a top National MS Society priority, with increasing annual investments to drive solutions for every person with MS," said Cynthia Zagieboylo, president and CEO of the society. "We fund the entire research spectrum, propelling novel ideas into the lab, translating breakthroughs into clinical trials and moving success in clinical trials into new treatments for people living with MS."
To find the best research with the most promise, the National MS Society relies on more than 130 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.