Health Canada

Health Canada

September 01, 2010 11:36 ET

Update: Government of Canada Accepts Recommendations on MS Research

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 1, 2010) -

CIHR News Release: CIHR makes recommendations on Canadian MS research priorities (

Summary Report: Joint Invitational Meeting on Multiple Sclerosis Research (

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today accepted the recommendations on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research recently presented to her by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) President Dr. Alain Beaudet. These recommendations are based on a thorough review of the current state of science conducted at an August 26, 2010, meeting of leading North American MS experts.

"At the meeting organized by CIHR and the MS Society of Canada, the scientific experts agreed that there is an overwhelming lack of scientific evidence that there is any link between abnormal venous drainage and MS," said Dr. Alain Beaudet, CIHR President.

"I accept the expert group's recommendation that we await the outcome of studies currently underway that are exploring the relationship between MS and venous malformations," said Minister Aglukkaq. "These studies will inform decisions about moving forward with any pan-Canadian clinical trials on a treatment to unblock veins. I will immediately establish a scientific expert working group to monitor and keep me informed of progress on these and other studies. More details on this working group will be available in the near future."

The scientific experts unanimously agreed that it was premature to support a pan-Canadian trial on the treatment of abnormal venous drainage, also known as the "Liberation Procedure" initiated by Dr. Zamboni of Italy.

The Government of Canada will accept the following three recommendations:

  1. To establish a scientific expert working group made up of the principal investigators for the seven MS Society-sponsored studies (four from Canada and three from the US), scientific leadership from CIHR and the MS Societies, and a representative from the provinces and territories, to monitor and analyze preliminary and final results from these studies, as well as from related studies from around the world. The first meeting of this expert working group should take place in this calendar year.
  2. Based on the outcomes of these studies, the scientific expert working group should reach conclusions regarding (1) the association (or lack thereof) between impaired cerebral venous drainage and MS; and (2) a common standard for reliably diagnosing the condition using imaging or other techniques.
  3. Depending on these conclusions, the scientific expert working group should make recommendations on further studies including, if appropriate, a pan-Canadian interventional clinical trial.

"The MS Society of Canada is proud to support the seven studies on MS and CCSVI and strongly believe the results will help us to have a greater understanding of MS and advance research in this area," said Mr. Yves Savoie, CEO and President of the MS Society of Canada.

"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to thank Dr. Beaudet and the research experts who carefully examined the evidence relevant to this experimental procedure to provide these recommendations," said Minister Aglukkaq. "I also wish to thank the MS Society of Canada who collaborated with the CIHR on this important meeting. This government recognizes the difficulties faced by the thousands of MS patients across Canada and their families. We will continue to work hard to in the fight against MS."

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Federal Minister of Health
    Jenny Van Alstyne