American Brain Foundation Starts Crowdfunding Campaign to Help Fight MS

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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MS crowdfunding effort

The American Brain Foundation has started a crowdfunding campaign to support research that could lead to treatments for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Foundation officials said the funds will help facilitate the work of Steffen Jung, head of the immunology department at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He is investigating the changes that occur during stages of inflammatory diseases.

The campaign coincides with March’s Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month.

Jung wants to learn what triggers inflammation, which would be a step toward stopping  debilitating disorders such as MS, Alzheimer’s and inflammatory bowel disease.

The campaign will fund the purchase of lab technology that will be important to Jung’s research — a device called quantitative realtime PCR (QuantStudio 6 Flex). With such technology, Jung’s team will be able to study genetic changes in immune cell DNA when  inflammation is occurring.

To broaden support for this project, the crowdfunding campaign is being led by a partnership between the American Brain Foundation and the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science.

“Our foundation seeks out the best research with the highest potential to defeat diseases of the brain and nervous system. We are excited because Professor Jung’s research has potential global impact. We want this crowdfunding campaign to enhance his work,” Jane Ransom, the executive director of the American Brain Foundation, said in a press release.

The campaign, whose goal is $80,000, will end on World MS Day, May 30. The theme of this year’s day is “Bringing Us Closer.” The main goal of the initiative is to connect people affected by MS with those involved in MS research, including scientists, healthcare professionals, students, and fundraisers.

The American Brain Foundation is also partnering with the National MS Society to support another crowdfunding project. Led by Ryan Schubert, a team of researchers is trying to leverage advancements in genomics, computer science and medicine to see if spinal fluid antibody testing can improve the accuracy and predictive power of MS diagnostics.

If successful, the project could not only improve MS diagnostics but also identify targets of the immune response the body generates in MS patients.


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