December 18, 2014

Looking back on 2014

This year marked some exciting developments in multiple sclerosis research, with every breakthrough bringing us closer to understanding the causes underlying MS and finding ways of improving the quality of life for people affected by MS. The MS Society of Canada has led the charge on fighting MS by supporting fundamental and innovative research into all aspects of the disease, and we are pleased to feature a broad range of MS Society-funded studies from across Canada on our research news updates.

Combating progressive MS, a particularly debilitating form of the disease for which there is currently no treatment, has been at the centre of concerted research efforts around the globe, and some of those efforts have come to fruition with the announcement of results from several clinical trials investigating treatments for progressive MS. In addition, basic research – which provides vital information about the biology of MS – has advanced understanding of myelin repair and neuroprotection, two important mechanisms that can slow disease progression and halt the transition to a progressive, irreversible state of nerve damage and disability. 

Several new studies have cast doubt on the link between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and MS, although research in this area, including a MS Society funded clinical trial on liberation therapy, continues steadfastly in order to inform people living with MS who want definitive answers about CCSVI.

2014 also brought new insights into the interaction between lifestyle factors and MS, including the impact of pregnancy on MS, the relationship between cannabis use and cognitive dysfunction, and ways of integrating effective exercise regimens to manage symptoms.

To round out the year, a long list of research studies have contributed a wealth of new information to our understanding of the disease mechanisms underlying MS and have helped us to identify potential therapeutic targets.

The MS Society remains dedicated to funding research that will yield important information about MS and pave the way for treatments that will benefit the lives of people living with MS. In 2014 the MS Society invested over $6 million to advance close to 70 projects. In addition, the MS Scientific Research Foundation continues to fund multi-centre, collaborative studies that address the most perplexing questions about MS. The hope is that, with this momentum and support, the MS Society will foster a strong network of bright minds, and propel Canada to the forefront in the search for a cure.

Scroll down to see a full list of research updates from around the world in 2014.

Progressive MS

Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI)

Lifestyle, family and well-being

Clinical breakthroughs and treatments

Disease mechanisms, triggers and targets

Tools and biomarkers

Population health