MS Society Raised $25M to Fund New Research Through NOW Campaign

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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NOW campaign

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society announced that its five-year campaign to raise $250 million has concluded with its goal fully achieved, allowing the society to launch more research into multiple sclerosis (MS) and effect more life-changing progress than at any other time in its nearly 70-year history.

A total 818 research projects were initiated and supported through the millions raised in the No Opportunity Wasted (NOW) campaign since 2010, the MS Society announced in a press release, including:

  • 137 grants for promising MS researchers training
  • 141 projects evaluating wellness and rehabilitation approaches
  • 71 clinical trials
  • 28 commercial research partnerships to tackle barriers to commercial development of promising new therapies

The campaign had three goals: stopping MS progression, restoring function lost to patients, and ending MS forever. Those goals are still being chased, but considerable progress has been realized, with five new treatments approved in the last five years, and long-awaited myelin-repairing treatments moving into clinical testing.

NOW raised more than 25 percent of the Society’s total research investments (nearly $900 million) since its establishment in 1946, advancing each of the campaign’s three goals through:

  1. Research Focused on Stopping MS
    • Establishing the MS Outcome Assessments Consortium to develop measures of MS progression and accelerate clinical trials/approval of new therapies;
    • Uncovering new evidence for risk factors associated with disease progression;
    • Founding the International Progressive MS Alliance (now including 11 countries cooperating in research into progressive forms of the disease);
    • Supporting promising clinical studies of nerve-protecting strategies;
    • Improving tools and mechanisms to speed MS diagnosis.
  2. Research Focused on Restoring Lost Function
    • Advancing myelin repair strategies;
    • Demonstrating the promise of stem cells to restore function;
    • Leveraging wellness research results for MS patients to be able to apply.
  3. Research to End MS Forever
    • Identifying environmental and lifestyle factors that might increase MS risk;
    • Discovering genes affecting susceptibility to MS;
    • Establishing and expanding the Network of Pediatric MS Centers.

“We are at a pivotal moment in time where significant progress is being made and breakthrough solutions that can change the world for everyone with MS are just within reach,” the MS Society said on its NOW campaign website, and expressed its gratitude to all its supporters and campaign contributors, who have made this progress possible.

Affecting 2.3 million people worldwide, MS is a disabling disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS), disrupting the flow of information within the brain, and between the body and the brain. Symptoms vary and range from softer numbness or tingling to more severe paralysis or blindness. This disease affects two to three times more women than men, and symptoms usually start between the ages of 20 and 50.

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