The Accelerated Cure Project (ACP) for Multiple Sclerosis and EMD Serono— a unit of Merck KGaA — will jointly incorporate the perspectives of U.S. and Canadian multiple sclerosis (MS) patients into the design and implementation of clinical trials. The ACP, a nonprofit group based in Waltham, Massachusetts, strives to accelerate efforts toward a cure for MS by advancing research that focuses on the causes and mechanisms of the disease. ACP's research initiative, iConquer MS, will support EMD Serono’s MS clinical trial program; it already collaborates with leading MS advocacy organizations and researchers to develop and validate patient-reported outcomes (PROs) — besides the usual outcomes measured in clinical trials like safety and efficacy. The initiative gives MS patients the chance to have their experiences, needs and perspectives included when assessing future MS therapies. "Those of us living with multiple sclerosis have the most valuable understanding of what matters most when it comes to treatment of this condition," Laura Kolaczkowski, lead patient representative and co-principal investigator of iConquerMS, said in a press release. She called the collaboration "an important opportunity for our collective voices and insights to be heard and to drive real progress in research, drug development, and ultimately in the fight against MS." Team members from EMD Serono and iConquer will work together to design endpoints of clinical trials as well as define measures and the relative importance of treatment benefits. Through workshops, focus groups, document reviews and surveys, iConquerMS participants will provide input across all stages of the study. "The rapid growth of patient-reported outcomes in clinical research is important progress not only for people living with MS, but for organizations seeking to develop and deliver new therapies to the market that make a real difference in the lives of patients," said Robert McBurney, PhD, president and CEO of ACP and co-principal investigator for iConquerMS. "We are delighted to partner with EMD Serono to break silos of information and advance the engagement of patients across the entirety of the clinical research process."