October 22, 2003
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has just committed $16.1 million to support 52 new research projects by top scientists investigating many aspects of multiple sclerosis (MS). Added to present commitments, the Society will spend some $30 million this year to fund over 300 new and ongoing MS investigations – more MS research than any voluntary health organization in the world – to cure, treat, and better understand this unpredictable disease of the central nervous system.
“These new research projects hold incredible promise for advancing our understanding of MS,” says Stephen C. Reingold, PhD, Vice President of Research Programs. “We’ve invested $380 million to find the cause and cure for MS since our founding 56 years ago -- an investment into basic and clinical research that is responsible for the rapid progress we’re seeing now.”
There are now five drugs on the U.S. market (Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone, Novantrone and Rebif) that can impact the underlying disease course in people with the more common forms of MS. But none of these drugs can stop or reverse the disease. The National MS Society funded much of the basic research that led to the development of several of these drugs, and continues to advance research that will help end the devastating effects of MS.
Two newly funded projects focus on the Society’s targeted research initiatives on gender differences in MS, and genetics. One investigator is studying the protective effects of a hormone produced by vitamin D in male and female mice, and another is leading an extensive collaboration between 19 European research groups tracing MS susceptibility genes. Several new grants seek innovative ways to repair the nervous tissue damage that occurs in MS, including one researcher who is studying an MS-like disease in mice that undergoes spontaneous repair; and others who are exploring naturally occurring molecules – for example, TXA2, IGF-1 – which might protect the nervous system from damage and promote repair.
Funds for research awards are provided in large part by contributors to the nationwide network of local chapters of the National MS Society, which also provide programs in communities across the U.S.
Read more about research programs funded by the Society:
on Gender Differences in MS
* Initiative on Genetics in MS
* F.A.Q. About Society-Funded MS Research
Copyright © 2003, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society