10 MS nonprofits unite on shared research strategy to find cures

North American, EU groups join new Global Research Strategy Framework

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by Mary Chapman |

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A scientist looks at a slide under a microscope in a laboratory.

To address knowledge gaps and avoid duplicate efforts in the lab and in trials, 10 multiple sclerosis (MS) organizations from around the world have committed to a single global research strategy to find a cure for the progressive neurodegenerative disorder.

The nonprofits, with headquarters in countries ranging from the U.S. and Canada to Australia and across the European Union, have signed on to the new Global Research Strategy Framework. Its premise: to coordinate resources on the most promising MS research.

“Connecting the global MS community through our shared focus on a worldwide research strategy will help us reach pathways to cures for MS faster,” Pamela Valentine, PhD, president and CEO of MS Canada, one of the member groups, said in a press release.

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Through this new framework, scientists will perform an analysis of the MS research funding and infrastructure landscape and share national investigative plans — pinpointing areas for collaboration and growth.

The groups also are called on to match individuals with collective framework resources and produce joint initiatives that address strategic gaps. At length, the organizations will issue a joint progress report.

“The MS community is diverse, and it spans far beyond Canada,” Valentine said.

In fact, Canada has one of the highest MS rates in the world: one of about every 400 residents is thought to have multiple sclerosis, and 12 Canadians are diagnosed with the disorder each day.

In addition to MS Canada, the other organizations in the framework are:

  • Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla, also known as the Italian MS Society
  • Deutsche Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft, in Germany
  • Esclerosis Múltiple España, in Spain
  • Fondation pour l’Aide à la Recherche sur la Sclérose En Plaques, in France
  • MS Australia
  • MS International Federation, a global group
  • MS Society UK, in Great Britian
  • National MS Society, in the U.S.
  • Scleroseforeningen, in Denmark.

There has been much progress over the last several decades in understanding and treating MS, which affects some 3 million people globally. Still, cures remain elusive.

We need to bring the world together, so that people affected by MS can have hope that we will achieve cures faster and eventually end MS forever.

MS organizations believe progress will be furthered by the Pathways to Cures Roadmap, which the National MS Society detailed last year. The guide, which has been endorsed by more than 30 national and international multiple sclerosis organizations, addresses knowledge gaps and includes recommendations from research leaders in MS investigations and clinical care.

It includes three distinct but overlapping pathways: stopping MS in its tracks (STOP); restoring what has been lost (RESTORE); and ending MS by preventing new cases (END).

“The Pathways to Cures Roadmap is a comprehensive plan to achieve MS cures. It is a focal point to coordinate, innovate and optimize research investments,” MS Canada stated in the press release.

“We need to bring the world together, so that people affected by MS can have hope that we will achieve cures faster and eventually end MS forever,” Peer Baneke, CEO of the MS International Federation, said in another press release.