This latest series of investments, made over the spring, raised to $65 million total global research funding by the society.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has closed laboratories and placed clinical trials on pause around the world, the organization asserts that “MS doesn’t stop, and neither will the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.”
“We’re still here and committed to accelerating pathways to cures aimed at stopping MS, restoring function that has been lost, and ending the disease forever,” it stated in a website news release.
Projects receiving support include studies into understanding why some people get MS and others don’t, repairing the nerve-insulating myelin sheath that is damaged and destroyed by MS, assessing the influence of diet and gut bacteria on MS-related immune activity, and evaluating a rehabilitation program for people with walking problems and non-invasive brain stimulation for those with cognitive difficulties.
Despite considerable progress in identifying key biological pathways that contribute to the disease risk and progression, its underlying causes are still not certain.
Examples of funded projects focused on finding the cause of MS include a large-scale study of the genetic origins of childhood MS, conducted by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley. Another grant will fund an in-depth investigation into a rare gene mutation that may cause the loss of myelin and therefore MS development. This study is being developed at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore.
Other research groups looking into ways of repairing myelin will also be funded. Myelin repair would mean stopping disease progression by preventing neurodegeneration, and raise the possibility of reversing the damage done and restoring lost function.
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