MS Society To Invest £2 million in Edinburgh Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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The MS Society recently announced it will invest £2 million into the Edinburgh Centre for MS Research.

This funding will support the research work of a team of about fifteen world-leading research experts from the University of Edinburgh. The team co-directed by Professors Siddharthan Chandran and Charles ffrench-Constant will continue their pioneering investigation on the origins and mechanisms behind Multiple Sclerosis to understand how to slow or stop disease progression. The research team is composed of researchers from different fields across the University, mainly investigators from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, and Centre for Neuroregeneration.

The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic will provide an interface between the laboratory-based basic science and clinical research. Collaborations with the MS Society Tissue Bank at the Imperial College London, the Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair, and the UK MS Register at Swansea University are vital to the triumph of the project.

Edinburgh Centre investigators will focus their research on stem cells over the next 5 years to understand how MS develops. They will also work on methods for modeling the disease and for discovering effective treatments to repair the damage that MS causes.

“In Scotland we are uniquely placed to conduct this world-class research, and as the country with one of the greatest burdens of this condition it is increasingly important that we should take a lead in tackling it. We are very fortunate to have a wealth of expertise in regenerative medicine, an NHS that is hardwired to support the best clinical research, and a wonderful community of patients and supporters. With their help, we hope to change the experience of MS for people around the world,” said in a recent news release Professor Siddharthan Chandran, Co-Director of the Edinburgh Centre for MS Research; Director, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences.

During the past years, the Edinburgh Centre has made significant advances in studying the disease. In a partnership with the MS Society-funded Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair, researchers discovered important molecules that can play significant roles in the regeneration and repair of myelin, one of which is called RXR-gamma. The team is now working on a small clinical trial that will evaluate the effectiveness and safety of a new drug targeting RXR-gamma, which could repair myelin in MS patients.

“The value of this funding cannot be underestimated at a time when we have real grounds for optimism in MS research. Stem cells provide genuine hope as a vital tool for drug development. We are confident that they could soon help us answer the unmet need for treatments to stop, slow or reverse the symptoms of this condition,” said Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, Co-Director of the Edinburgh Centre for MS Research and Director, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

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The MS Society is a global leader of MS research and is the leading UK charity for people with MS.

Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society in the UK, said: “We know that people with MS desperately want treatments that can slow, stop or reverse the effects of MS progression — and the world-class researchers at the Edinburgh Centre could be pivotal in paving the way for how the condition is treated in the future. Aside from the cutting-edge research being carried out there, it’s also a place where highly promising young scientists are being supported to embark on a career in the field ofMS, ensuring that the best scientific minds are focussed on finding answers for people with the condition for years to come.”

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