Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

September 16, 2008 10:22 ET

endMS Speeds Research Effort, Pushes to Cure Multiple Sclerosis

$60 million campaign funds national research and training network and enables Canadian scientists to accelerate pace of discovery

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 16, 2008) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available via Marketwire on the picture wire of The Canadian Press.

Today, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada announced the launch of endMS (www.endms.ca), a three-year national campaign with a goal of raising $60 million to fund research activities and establish the endMS Research and Training Network. The Network is a first in the MS community and represents an immediate, dedicated investment to advance Canada's leadership position in MS research.

"Collaboration is critical to significant, continued success in MS research," says Dr. Jack Antel director of the endMS Research and Training Network and clinical neurologist at McGill University. "When we work together, we can more clearly understand how our research findings apply to real patients and that sharing is what will continue to propel us forward toward a cure."

The goal of the endMS Research and Training Network is to accelerate research to end multiple sclerosis. The Network will help attract and train young researchers and retain seasoned scientists in an effort to speed the pace of discovery.

Canadian MS researchers are world-renowned and have made incredible advances in the knowledge and treatment of multiple sclerosis. However, if a limited number of young scientists make MS their professional focus, accelerated progress towards the end of MS could be in peril.

"With one of the highest rates of MS in the world, no known cure, and an annual economic impact that totals more than $1 billion annually, a lack of researchers is a vulnerability Canadians can ill afford," says Yves Savoie, president and CEO, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

"At the time I was diagnosed, I thought my life was over," says Jennifer Pevec, who was diagnosed with MS more than three years ago. "But today, research has given me new treatment options and a glimmer of hope. People in the prime of their lives don't just have to fade away with a diagnosis of MS. There is help and there is support."

About the endMS Research and Training Network

Through the endMS Campaign, the MS Society of Canada will create a research enterprise that will revolutionize the way the MS medical community communicates and collaborates. It will attract and retain the best and brightest minds by establishing Canada as the premier destination in the world in which to train for and pursue a career in MS research.

The goals of the endMS Research and Training Network include:

- Increase the pace of translation of research from the laboratory to the clinic so that effective therapies are available sooner.

- Foster active collaboration between clinicians and scientists through a technology-based infrastructure, including a comprehensive, online library of research data and educational material.

- Ensure that advancements in research benefit all people with MS regardless of community size or location.

"We are proud to lead an aggressive charge toward a cure for MS", says Savoie. "The endMS campaign continues our long-held tradition of research excellence. The funds raised will help ensure the Canadian research community maintains its world-class standing and will secure our place as the country of choice for MS researchers."

Canadian MS Research Successes

Historically, Canada has led the world in MS research. Canadian MS research successes include:

- The first North American pediatric MS clinic and the development of a comprehensive study looking at MS in children.

- Advancement of MRI technologies that allow for faster diagnosis and treatment of MS

- Pioneering work in bone marrow transplants and MS

- The world's largest genetic susceptibility study in MS

"When you look at the tremendous advances we've seen in MS in the last ten or twenty years, we know that we've already changed the face of the disease," says Dr. Antel. "And while those achievements are quite remarkable, they also represent a very real opportunity for our community, our teams, to build on the momentum and, together, move forward."

About the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is the only national volunteer health agency in Canada that funds MS research, provides services for people with MS and family members and conducts public education programs. Since its founding in 1948, the MS Society has worked to hasten the discovery of the cause, effective treatment and cure for MS. From basic laboratory research to the development of new treatments for people with MS, the MS Society's research program is making a difference in people's lives today.

The MS Society also provides services to people who have multiple sclerosis and family members through its seven division offices and more than 120 chapters. MS Society volunteers and staff are also actively involved in educating health care professionals about MS and its treatment, in public awareness programs and in social action.

Contact Information