Public Release: 

Largest brain repair initiative in MS will speed strategies to restore nerve function

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has launched a new initiative to speed research on nervous system repair and protection in MS, a disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. The Society has invited proposals from research teams to compete for grants of up to $5.5 million each to pave the way for clinical testing of repair and protection strategies in people with MS.

"The pace of research in nervous system repair is accelerating dramatically," comments Stephen C. Reingold, PhD, the Society's Vice President of Research Programs. "With this initiative, we are aiming to have in place non-invasive tools that can determine the clinical success of any of several promising repair techniques that may be tested in the future to protect and restore nerve function in persons with MS."

These are the largest grants ever offered by any agency for tissue protection and repair in MS, and potentially the most expensive single grants in the 58-year history of the National MS Society. The Society funds more MS research, offers more services for people with MS, and provides more professional education programs than any other MS organization in the world.

To compete for "Translational Research Partnerships on Nervous System Repair and Protection in MS" awards, researchers will have to assemble interdisciplinary teams and forge innovative strategies to:

  • develop new disease models to screen repair and protection techniques;
  • apply advanced MRI and other non-invasive monitoring tools to detect repair; and
  • design human clinical trials.

    Letters of intent are due to the National MS Society by April 19, 2004.

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    Details about the program are available on the Society's Web site at: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Research-RepairRFP.asp. Invited proposals will be reviewed in the spring 2005 and the winning team or teams will launch their projects in summer 2005.

    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.

    Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system. It is devastating because it strikes during the younger adult years, and slowly steals physical functioning in unpredictable ways. MS affects 400,000 people in the U.S.

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