The Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS Society) in the U.K. recently announced awards targeted towards new MS research. In total, 16 projects carefully selected by both a panel of experts and patients living with MS will share MS Society 2015 funding grants amounting to £1,979,879.
All projects fulfilled the requirements of high scientific quality, sound evidence base and alignment with the MS Society’s research strategy; moreover, they were considered relevant by MS patients themselves. The projects were grouped into four topics: cause, cure, care and services, and symptom management.
Three projects were selected within the category of MS symptom management. The first, led by Professor Avril Drummond from the University of Nottingham, will receive £64,655. The study is entitled “Helping people manage cognitive problems: translating research into practice” and its goal is to ensure that the results of clinical trials are properly and effectively translated into clinical practice. The research focuses on the ongoing CRAMMS trial, the largest symptom-management trial in the U.K., which is evaluating whether group-based cognitive rehabilitation can help improve memory and attention in MS patients, two relevant cognitive symptoms in this population. The team will conduct a side study of CRAMMS to assess the impact that the trial has in clinic settings, and to determine ways to improve the link between trials and clinical practice, and the number of MS patients who might benefit from a trial’s findings.
The second project, titled “Can a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink improve fatigue?” and led by Professor Helen Dawes from Oxford Brookes University, will receive £69,991. The goal of the project is to determine whether a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink can help ease fatigue in MS patients. Flavonoids are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and to be able to prevent the damage caused by harmful free radicals. The team will investigate whether the intake of a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink has a beneficial effect in terms of fatigue, inflammation, and free radical damage in patients with MS.
The third project, awarded £29,148, is led by Dr. Jennifer Rohn from the University College London and titled “Understanding urinary tract infections in MS using a model bladder.” Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common complication in MS patients, and although long-term antibiotic treatment can ease bladder symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life, such long-term use can carry serious side effects. Alternative treatments are required. The goal of the project is to develop an innovative model bladder that allows the identification of genes involved in chronic UTI, and to find possible new therapeutic targets for this condition.