International Progressive MS Alliance Announces New Funding to Accelerate the Development of New Treatments for Progressive MS

Summary: The International Progressive MS Alliance (Alliance) announces over 4.6 million euros for two major initiatives to address the urgent need for new, effective treatments for people living with MS. The first program, the Challenges in Progressive MS Awards aims to improve our understanding of mechanisms that drive progression and is supporting six new projects. The second program is the Innovations in Well-being Awards aims to identify and implement solutions to MS symptoms – pain, mobility, impaired cognition and fatigue – and will be supporting nine new projects.

Challenges in Progressive MS Awards

In 2021, seventeen pilot projects received exploratory funding to identify new avenues in understanding progression. The Alliance is now pleased to announce the funding of six (6) larger and longer-term Challenges in Progressive MS Awards from those initial 17 projects that will focus on several areas including novel insights into axonal loss in progressive MS, molecular pathways that promote neuroprotection and repair, and the testing of potential drugs to slow progression. The Challenges in Progressive MS Awards are three-year research projects with work initiating in early 2024 and reporting findings in 2027.

MS Canada is delighted that Dr. Jennifer Gommerman (University of Toronto) is a recipient of the Challenges in Progressive MS award for her work in understanding the role of the immune system and its interaction with other factors in progressive MS.

For a full list of projects – refer here.

Innovations in Well-Being Awards

After a worldwide call for proposals that resulted in 51 applications from 11 countries, the Alliance is funding nine (9) Innovation in Well-Being Awards. The awards are the first stage of a well-being research pipeline in which successful awards will demonstrate a strong expert team and research proposal that offers the potential for novel therapeutic interventions or outcomes for progressive MS and can culminate with a large randomized controlled study and implementation for adoption into healthcare systems. The nine (9) projects will focus on the MS symptoms of pain, mobility, impaired cognition and fatigue.  The first phase of the research projects will initiate in early 2024 and report results in mid-2025.

MS Canada is delighted that two of these awards will be led by Canadians, Dr. Gabrielle Macaron (Centre Recherche Centre Hospitalier Université de Montreal) is looking at better ways to detect cognitive impairments in people with progressive MS and Dr. Lara Pilutti (University of Ottawa) is looking at rehabilitation approaches to restore cognition and motor function in people with progressive MS.

For a full list of projects – refer here.

About the International Progressive MS Alliance

The Alliance exists to accelerate the development of effective treatments for people with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis to improve quality of life worldwide. It is an unprecedented global collaboration of MS organizations, researchers, health professionals, the pharmaceutical industry, companies, trusts, foundations, donors and people affected by progressive MS, working together to address the unmet needs of people with progressive MS ─ rallying the global community to find solutions. Our promise is more than hope, it is progress.

MS Canada is a founding and managing member of the International Progressive MS Alliance.