MS Society Funded Research
Many people living today with MS remember a time when nothing could be done to control their disease. That changed in the 1980s with the introduction of the clinical trials that tested the first disease modifying therapies (DMT) for MS. These medications — the beta-interferons, glatiramer acetate and more recently, natalizumab —revolutionized the management of MS.
Over the past 25 years there has been an explosion of new research into what causes MS, how it develops, and why it progresses.
CCSVI research is one of many avenues of research that the MS Society is committed to travelling right now. There are others avenues to travel as well. Canadian researchers have done pivotal and pioneering work in genetics, immunology, pediatric MS, nervous system repair, and stem cell research among other areas.
Here are some of the advances that we've celebrated over the past decades:
- We have evidence myelin can and does regrow spontaneously which indicates repair is possible.
- Myelin repair and regrowth takes place in the early stages of MS
- Studies are underway using the body's own cells to repair myelin
- Researchers have identified new treatments for managing MS symptoms such as pain, spasticity and fatigue.
- Researchers have developed "windows" into the disease through technology.
- MRI scanning assists doctors in diagnosing MS more quickly
- Canadians are leaders in MRI and other magnetic resonance technology to measure disease activity within the central nervous system
- Investigators have a better understanding of the nature of MS which means some types of MS can be more effectively managed. This is because of :
- Studies of MS tissue (pathology)
- Studies of the immune system (immunology)
- Studies of the way MS naturally progresses without treatment (natural history studies)
- Scientists have identified key molecules responsible for initiating the abnormal immune system response in MS, as well as those involved in repair.
- Identifying the "initiators" of repair and "culprits" of abnormal immune response will lead to better therapies
- There is understanding that both genetic and environmental factors are important in the cause of MS.
- More than one gene is involved
- The excess of MS in some families is due to genetic factors
- Research milestones in genetics research have paved the way for a major genetic study currently taking place in Canada
- Studies have found that MS is a costly disease.
- The cost of MS is higher than many other diseases because it lasts a lifetime
- Most of the cost of MS is borne by people with MS and their families
- The cost of the disease is greater the more disabled a person becomes
The MS Society of Canada's MS research program invests in research that meets the highest level of scientific excellence and relevance to MS. All of our research grants (CCSVI and MS included) are adjudicated through a rigorous peer-review process by a non-conflicted expert review panel, which is in keeping with national and international adjudication processes. The review panel makes its recommendation to the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) members which in turn makes recommendations to the MS Society's board of directors for funding through the MS research program. Based on available resources generated through donations, grants are awarded.
For more information about MS Society research, read our publication, Multiple Sclerosis Research: The effort to end MS
For more information about research funded by the MS Society please visit our website.