National MS Society Awards $12M to 40 Research Projects in US and Elsewhere

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by Diogo Pinto |

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The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) has pledged $12 million to support 40 new, multi-year research projects focused on “stopping MS, restoring lost function, and ending the disease forever,” the organization announced in a press release.

This commitment — the last allocation set aside for research in 2018 —  brings to $35.8 million society support for research studies into MS and its treatments worldwide this year, much as it has in past years, including in 2016 and 2017.

“These important new research investments strengthen the Society’s comprehensive approach to address our most pressing research priorities that will accelerate breakthrough and build pathways to a cure for MS,” said Bruce Bebo, PhD, the National MS Society’s executive vice president of research.

To date, the society has invested more than $1 billion into such efforts, making it the largest private funder of MS research globally. Projects are selected by members of 130-strong group of leading scientists, who examine hundreds of submitted proposals on the NMSS’ behalf.

Those awarded support in this  round include work being conducted by Caterina Mainero at the Massachusetts General Hospital that aims to develop a way to track cells responsible for myelin repair in MS patients.

The society is also supporting a small clinical trial, led by Leigh Charvet at the New York University, that will evaluate transcranial direct current stimulation in treating MS-related fatigue. Results may validate a new and non-pharmaceutical treatment for fatigue in patients.

A team led by Anne-Louise Ponsonby at the Australian National University was also given support. These researchers will examine how the environment — including exposure to sunlight, vitamin D, and infections — might impact genes and possibly trigger disease onset.

A list of funded projects can be found via this link.

To advance possible breakthroughs, the society also supports pilot projects focusing on untested ideas. These one-year grants allow researchers to gather preliminary data that could determine if their ideas are worth pursuing.

Cindy Zagieboylo, the society’s president and chief executive officer, thanked the many people who participated in the NMSS fundraising events that made this research support possible.

“We are so grateful to the hundreds of thousands of people who each year raise money through Walk MS, Bike MS, Muckfest MS and all our other fundraising events so that people affected by MS can live their best lives,” Zagieboylo said. “Funding research gets us closer to a cure. We could not to this important work without the wonderful support of so many dedicated people.”

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