Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in Multiple Sclerosis Awarded Nearly $1.35 Million to Investigate the Impact of Pediatric-Onset MS Into Adulthood

igate the Impact of Pediatric-Onset MS Into Adulthood

Study will provide greater insights into multiple sclerosis disease progression from childhood through adulthood

TORONTO, O.N. (April 6, 2022) – The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada announced today a nearly $1.35 million investment from Biogen Canada Inc., Hoffmann-La Roche Limited (Roche Canada), and Brain Canada Foundation towards a new sub-cohort of the Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in Multiple Sclerosis (CanProCo) that follows pediatric-onset MS (POMS) participants from the Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Study (CPDDS) as they become adults to understand MS across the age-span. This investment over three years brings the total amount awarded for the CanProCo project to over $11.5 million.

This new CanProCo sub-cohort will bring together two Canadian datasets and efforts to provide insight into the earliest aspects of progressive changes that occur in MS. This sub-cohort will meet a fundamental need to understand the impact of MS diagnosis from childhood into adulthood, particularly on physical disability, cognition, brain structure, capacity for vocational or higher educational achievement, and overall quality of life.

Under the leadership of Dr. Jiwon Oh, CanProCo is a unique initiative, bringing together nearly 50 leading MS researchers from various scientific disciplines across Canada with an over-arching objective to better understand and treat MS progression. CanProCo is generously funded by the MS Society of Canada in partnership with Brain Canada Foundation, Biogen Canada, Roche Canada, and the Government of Alberta.

“On behalf of the CanProCo team, we are pleased to welcome this collaboration to further our knowledge of pediatric-onset MS and to provide important insights for all people living with MS as they age,” said Dr. Jiwon Oh, Lead Investigator of CanProCo and Medical Director of the BARLO MS Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto, University of Toronto. “This research will serve as an invaluable resource for the national and international MS research community, providing implications on how we effectively treat, manage, and identify factors of MS progression across the disease spectrum, beginning at the earliest onset of the disease.”

Led by Dr. Brenda Banwell and supported by The Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation, the CPDDS has become an unparalleled dataset with participants and their families contributing a wealth of clinical, imaging, immunological, genetic and outcomes data for over 16 years. In addition to following participants with POMS, the CPDDS has also identified participants with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody disorders (MOG-AD), a demyelinating disorder that has similarities and distinct features from MS, who will be re-engaged as part of this study.

“By bringing together two large patient-centric cohorts in Canada, this is a unique opportunity to follow young adults with pediatric MS across a new stage of their lives. This is the first initiative in Canada to examine the progression and impact of early-onset MS into adulthood, namely the effect of this diagnosis on brain health, immune function development, mental health, relationships, quality of life, and other health outcomes across the lifespan,” said Dr. Brenda Banwell, Lead Investigator of the Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Program.

The MS Society of Canada is appreciative of the continued support of the funding partners in this study, with Biogen and Roche Canada investing approximately $500,000, and Brain Canada Foundation investing $350,000 to fund this critical research.

“Integrating pediatric participants from the CPDDS into CanProCo will maximize the investment the MS Society has made over the last 16 years to help us understand MS across the lifespan. With the continued support of our CanProCo funding partners, this new research will drive breakthroughs in how we understand, treat, and halt MS disease progression at various life stages, moving us closer to a world free of MS,” said Pam Valentine, President and CEO, MS Society of Canada.

To learn more about the new sub-cohort of the Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in MS, visit our funded research page.


Background on the Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in MS (CanProCo)

Progression – or the steady worsening of disease, resulting in increased disability – is a challenging reality faced by people affected by MS. While major advances have been made in MS research over the last 30 years, the mechanism of progression and the ways in which researchers and clinicians can track progression are still not fully understood. CanProCo can have significant implications on how those living with MS manage and understand their illness from diagnosis and throughout the various stages of the disease. This study will look at progression from the biological, physical, and socioeconomic perspectives, and will meaningfully engage people living with MS so that their individual experiences are captured. Ultimately, the goal of the cohort is to connect biological findings with real world and clinical findings to create a comprehensive picture of progression in MS, with the hope that researchers will better understand the unpredictable nature of MS and find a cure.

About multiple sclerosis and the MS Society of Canada

Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world. On average, 12 Canadians are diagnosed every day. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). It is considered an episodic disability meaning that the severity and duration of illness and disability can vary and are often followed by periods of wellness. It can also be progressive. Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 49 and the unpredictable effects of the disease will last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides information, support and advocacy to people affected by MS, and funds research to find the cause and cure for the disease, bringing us closer to a world free of MS. Please visit or call 1-800-268-7582 for more information, to get involved, or to support Canadians affected by MS by making a donation.

Join the conversation and connect with the MS community online. Find the MS Society on Twitter, Instagram or like our page on Facebook.

About Roche

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people's lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, as well as growing capabilities in the area of data-driven medical insights, help Roche deliver truly personalized healthcare. Roche is the world's largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.

Roche Canada was founded in 1931, and employs more than 1,800 people across the country through its Pharmaceuticals division in Mississauga, Ontario as well as its Diagnostics and Diabetes Care divisions in Laval, Quebec.

For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter.

About Brain Canada Foundation

Brain Canada is a national registered charity that enables and supports excellent, innovative, paradigm-changing brain research in Canada. Brain Canada’s vision is to understand the brain, in health and illness, to improve lives and achieve societal impact. For two decades, Brain Canada has made the case for the brain as a single, complex system with commonalities across the range of neurological disorders, mental illnesses and addictions, brain and spinal cord injuries. Looking at the brain as one system has underscored the need for increased collaboration across disciplines and institutions, and a smarter way to invest in brain research that is focused on outcomes that will benefit patients and families.

Brain Canada raises and leverages funds from a range of donors and partners, including individuals, corporations, foundations, research institutes, health charities, and provincial agencies. To date, Brain Canada and its supporters have invested $250 million in 300 research projects across the country. To find out more, visit: or watch the following video produced by Brain Canada Foundation, featuring Dr. Jiwon Oh and CanProCo.

About Biogen

As pioneers in neuroscience, Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Kenneth Murray and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp Today, Biogen has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy and is providing the first and only approved treatment to address a defining pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Biogen is also commercializing biosimilars focusing on advancing the industry’s most diversified pipeline in neuroscience that will transform the standard of care for patients in several areas of high unmet need.

Since 1998, Biogen Canada has been delivering life-changing medicines and services that support unmet treatment needs and the lives of Canadians affected by neurological conditions. As a company that founds its culture on principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, Biogen Canada is proud to have been named a Top 50 Best Workplace™ in the country and Healthcare, as well as a Best Workplace™ for Inclusion, Women, Giving Back, and Hybrid Work. To learn more, visit:

About the Government of Alberta, Jobs, Economy and Innovation

The Government of Alberta’s Department of Jobs, Economy and Innovation leads efforts to grow Alberta’s economy by supporting entrepreneurs and job creators, attracting investment, growing trade, strengthening Alberta’s key sectors and ensuring Alberta has an innovative and competitive business environment.

These responsibilities include overseeing the implementation of Alberta’s Recovery Plan; supporting Alberta entrepreneurs, businesses and communities to drive growth and job creation; attracting, retaining and expanding investment in Alberta; enhancing trade and export development; optimizing Alberta’s innovation system to support economic growth; and creating the conditions for growth and diversification of Alberta’s primary and emerging industries. For more information, visit:


Ian Royer

MS Society of Canada