$18 Million In New Research Projects Launched To Stop Multiple Sclerosis, Restore Function And End It Forever

-- 65 new grants and fellowships part of 2013 investment of over $47 million in cutting-edge research projects moving us closer to a world free of MS

NEW YORK, April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has committed another $18 million to support up to 65 new MS research projects. These new awards are part of a comprehensive research strategy aimed at stopping MS, restoring function that has been lost, and ending the disease forever.  

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090302/DC77093LOGO )

This financial commitment is the latest in the Society's relentless research efforts, investing an estimated $47 million in 2013 alone to support over 350 new and ongoing studies around the world to move closer to a world free of MS. 

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.  Worldwide, over 2.1 million people live with the unpredictable challenges of multiple sclerosis. 

"It's critical that all promising paths are pursued to find solutions for everyone affected by MS, says Timothy Coetzee, PhD, Chief Research Officer at the Society. "These new projects are part of the Society's holistic investment spanning all research stages, including early discovery research, translational research, 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 100 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. 

The new projects include:

  • A Harvard study asking whether low testosterone levels increase the risk of developing MS for men, to determine whether sex hormones can be manipulated to stop MS in its tracks;
  • A multi-center study exploring whether there's a link between microbes in the gut and the risk of developing MS in childhood, for clues to how this link might help to end MS forever;
  • A postdoctoral research project at Oregon Health and Science University seeking to understand changes in the brain that are associated with balance problems, which may help design physical therapy programs to restore balance in people with MS.

There are FDA-approved therapies (http://nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/treatments/index.aspx) 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 helped lead to the development of many of these therapies, and continues to be a driving force of MS research.  These new projects add substantially to the research goals outlined in the Society's Strategic Response to MS (http://nationalmssociety.org/about-the-society/our-strategic-response/index.aspx).

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 2.1 million worldwide.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society addresses the challenges of each person 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 forward with their lives.  In 2012 alone, the Society invested $43 million to support 350 research projects around the world while providing programs and services that assisted more than one million people.  The Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Join the movement at www.nationalMSsociety.org.

Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS Society at nationalMSsociety.org or 1-800-344-4867.

SOURCE National Multiple Sclerosis Society

CONTACT: Arney Rosenblat, arney.rosenblat@nmss.org, 212 476-0436

Web Site: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/

Posted: April 2013

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