Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

May 18, 2011 09:35 ET

MS Awareness Month 2011: $6.6 Million In New Research Funding Approved

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 18, 2011) - The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is pleased to announce that $6.6 million has been allocated in new research funding. Recently, the grants review and medical advisory committees of the MS Society of Canada met and designated $2.4 million towards 74 personnel awards such as studentships, fellowships and career development awards, as well as $4.2 million towards 17 operating grants. Funding allocations approved through this process will fund projects for up to three years beginning in 2011.

These awards and grants ensure that the most talented Canadians in the field of MS research have the funding they need in order to advance their work. Innovative and promising research is bolstered through personnel awards that provide support to those launching or who are well on their way in MS-related research careers. In addition, new funding is directed to operating grants for MS research that demonstrate excellence in scientific rigour, promise and feasibility.

Yves Savoie, president and chief executive officer of the MS Society of Canada comments, "Canadian researchers have been at the forefront of pioneering work in genetics, pediatric MS, and stem cell research. What starts out in the lab as research often becomes, with time and evidence-based study, real, quality-of-life benefits for people living with MS. We're excited about this year's funding allocation and the insights these studies will bring to questions about what causes MS, how it develops, and why it progresses."

Highlights of this year's research funding allocation include:

1. Dr. Christina Wolfson, McGill University and Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre

A population study of risk factors for MS: the Canadian contribution

The cause of MS remains unknown despite more than 100 years of research. There are, however, a few promising individual risk factors including infectious agents, smoking, and vitamin D exposure through diet and sunlight. A team of MS researchers from Europe and Canada are conducting a study which will include participants with MS and without MS from five countries. The international case-control study on environmental factors in multiple sclerosis (EnvIMS) has been launched in Norway, Italy, Sweden, and Serbia and will now begin in Canada. Once completed, this will represent the largest study of MS risk factors of its type ever conducted with more than 10,000 participants.

2. Dr. Fabio Rossi, University of British Columbia

Role of circulating white blood cells in an mouse model of MS

In MS, entry of circulating white blood cells in the central nervous system (CNS) is associated with active lesions, but it's unclear as to whether incoming cells play a role in causing damage or are attracted to sites where damage has already occurred. A novel experimental strategy will address this question, by allowing researchers to completely replace white blood cells in a mouse model of MS without affecting the cells already present in the CNS, so as to easily distinguish 'incoming' cells from resident cells.

These studies are in addition to the MS Society of Canada and the National MS Society (USA)'s commitment of over $2.4 million to support seven research projects targeted at CCSVI and MS that are projected to conclude in July 2012. For more information on current MS Society-funded research, please see the 2011 research summaries.

Contact Information

  • Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
    Stewart Wong
    Senior Manager, Communications and Media Relations