MS Canada and the Stem Cell Network Announce the Recipient of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in Regenerative Medicine for Multiple Sclerosis

In partnership with the Stem Cell Network, MS Canada is pleased to announce the recipient of the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Regenerative Medicine for Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

October 23, 2023 (Toronto) – In partnership with the Stem Cell Network, MS Canada is pleased to announce the recipient of the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Regenerative Medicine for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The Fellowship aims to attract and retain promising postdoctoral fellows to work at the intersection of stem cells, regenerative medicine, and MS.

Dr. Elisabet Jakova from the University of Manitoba has been awarded the SCN-MSC Postdoctoral Fellowship for her research entitled “Therapeutic Potential of Neuregulin-1 in Promoting Neural Stem Cell Mediated Repair in Progressive MS.” Specifically, she’ll be evaluating the potential of neuregulin-1 as a treatment to prevent disease progression and support tissue repair in progressive MS – a form of MS with minimal treatment options currently available.

Her research will use preclinical MS mouse models to investigate the neuroprotective and neuroregenerative properties of neuregulin-1, a protein that has been found to be depleted in demyelinating lesions and plasma of people with MS and is positively associated with disease progression and neurological disability. 

As the recipient of the Postdoctoral Fellowship award valued at $100,000 over two years, of which MS Canada contributed $40,000 and the Stem Cell Network contributed $60,000, Dr. Jakova will continue to pursue her research under the supervision of Dr. Soheila Karimi, developing stem-cell based regenerative therapies, paving the way for accelerated discoveries that will benefit the entire MS community.

"We are proud to partner with the Stem Cell Network to invest in the next generation of scientists and their foundational research through the Postdoctoral Fellowship program," remarked Dr. Pamela Valentine, President and CEO of MS Canada. "Dr. Jakova's research developing regenerative therapies for progressive MS holds promise towards our collective commitment to halt and ultimately reverse disease progression. Work in this area provides hope in the ability to delay disability and even repair lost function, which is life-changing for people living with progressive MS."

"On behalf of all of us at the Stem Cell Network, I’d like to extend a very big congratulations to Dr. Elisabet Jakova for her outstanding achievement in receiving this fellowship award,” stated President and CEO of the Stem Cell Network, Cate Murray. “We are proud to have her as part of the Stem Cell Network community. Multiple sclerosis is a challenging condition that affects thousands of Canadians and their families, and we are honored to collaborate with MS Canada to support stem cell and regenerative medicine research that can be used to investigate, treat, or cure MS. Together, we strive to support the next generation of Canadian talent, like Dr. Jakova, who are dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of this complex disease.”

Canada has one of the world’s highest rates of multiple sclerosis, with an estimated 90,000 Canadians living with the disease and approximately 12 being diagnosed every day. Working towards our goal of a world free of multiple sclerosis, MS Canada is proud to partner with the Stem Cell Network to foster and support innovative research that will lead to major advances in our understanding of the disease.  



About MS Canada:

MS Canada fosters meaningful connections both within the MS community, and between the MS community and research, programs, resources, and services. As of 2023, MS Canada amalgamates two previously known entities, the MS Society of Canada and the MS Scientific Research Foundation, continuing its work toward the same vision of a world free of multiple sclerosis. The MS community is at the centre of MS Canada. For 75 years we have been relentless in our fight, continuously funding research to expand the current MS knowledge base. We also advocate for people living with MS, asking the government to remove barriers and improve policies that impact their everyday lives. 

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About multiple sclerosis (MS)

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). Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 49. It is considered an episodic disability meaning that the severity and duration of episodes of illness and disability can vary, often followed by periods of wellness. It can also be progressive.

About the Stem Cell Network: The Stem Cell Network (SCN) is a Canadian not-for-profit that supports stem cell and regenerative medicine research; training the next generation of highly qualified personnel; and knowledge mobilization and transfer of stem cell and regenerative medicine research. From the lab to the clinic, SCN’s goal is to power life-saving therapies and technologies through regenerative medicine research for the benefit of all. Created in 2001, with support from the Government of Canada, the Network has grown from a few dozen labs to more than 270 world-class research groups, supporting over 250 research projects and 30 clinical trials. Since its inception, over 25 biotech companies have been catalyzed or enhanced and more than 6,400 highly qualified personnel have been trained. In 2021, the Government of Canada demonstrated its continuing trust and support in SCN with an investment of $45 million for the 2022–2025 period.

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