November 21, 2018

A team of world-renowned researchers selected to establish the CANadian PROspective COhort Study for People Living with MS (CanProCo)


The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, along with partners Brain Canada, are excited to announce that a team of world-renowned researchers in multiple sclerosis (MS) were selected to begin work on the Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in MS (CanProCo). Biogen is also a founding and funding partner of the cohort.


Over the last few decades, there has been significant progress that has been made in MS, yet one of the unmet needs is a better understanding of, and treatment options for, progression in MS. While current therapies in MS aim to slow the progression of the disease, there are no treatment options that successfully alter the trajectory of progression. A key to altering progression in MS is a better understanding of the mechanism involved in progression and how various factors interact to further promote progression.

As Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world and is home to some of the most world-renowned scientific experts, availability of extensive population-databases in MS and well-established collaborations among the MS research community, it is poised to establish a cohort to better understand progression in MS. The MS Society of Canada, Biogen, and Brain Canada partnered to launch a $7+ million call for research proposals that invited researchers to establish a Canadian cohort of people living with MS to study progression in the disease over five years. We are excited to announce that the team of researchers were selected to begin work on the Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in MS (CanProCo).

While the team that will be establishing the cohort includes nearly 50 researchers, Dr. Jiwon Oh from St. Michael’s Hospital is leading this initiative. Co-investigators include: Dr. Shannon Kolind (University of British Columbia), Dr. Larry Lynd (University of British Columbia), Dr. Scott Patten (University of Calgary), Dr. Alexandre Prat (Centre de Recherche du CHUM), Dr. Roger Tam (University of British Columbia), and Dr. Anthony Traboulsee (University of British Columbia). To learn more about these researchers, check out our blog.

The researchers leading the CanProCo span multiple disciplines including epidemiology, health outcomes, health economics, health services utilization, imaging, and immunology. Collecting data from each of these fields will allow the researchers to gain insights into the various factors that contribute to progression in MS. In addition to the vast information that will be collected, the researchers will also evaluate treatment effects, the impact of early diagnosis and treatment on progression, and the impact of physical activity and other non-pharmacologic interventions. The results from the cohort study have the potential to provide a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of progression, risk factors for progression, biological markers indicative of progression, and how people will progress over time.

Long-term monitoring of progression in MS will also help build a resource available to other MS researchers in the future to continue to investigate the multitude of factors and mechanisms involved in progression.

The over-arching goal of the cohort is to provide evidence that will impact clinical care and treatment strategies that ultimately improve the health, wellness, and quality of life of people living with MS. All this would not be possible without the acts of greatness from our partners, donors and supporters.

For more information about the CanProCo, check out the FAQs and Blog.