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.
- Results from a Phase II clinical trial observing possible treatment for progressive MS
- Researchers from Calgary offer new insight on primary progressive MS that can change treatment
- MS Society-funded study identifies a biomarker in primary progressive MS for targeting with immune-directed treatments
- Novartis announces results of Phase III clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Gilenya for primary progressive MS
Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI)
- MS Society-funded study assesses diagnostic criteria for CCSVI
- Results from a prospective, randomized, sham-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of venous angioplasty in individuals with MS who display signs of CCSVI
Lifestyle, family and well-being
- Development of evidence-informed physical activity guidelines for adults with MS
- MS Society-supported study investigates relationship between cannabis use and cognitive dysfunction in MS
- Canadian researchers investigate the impact of pregnancy on the course of relapsing-remitting MS
- A comprehensive, nationwide MS Society-supported study provides clues about factors that contribute to living a long and healthy life with MS
- Canadian researchers explore recent evidence on depression in people with MS
Clinical breakthroughs and treatments
- Italian researchers explore tuberculosis vaccine as potential treatment approach to preventing or treating MS
- Health Canada approves Lemtrada™ for the management of relapsing-remitting MS
- Emerging myelin-repair drug passes phase 1 safety tests
- Biogen Idec reports case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in an individual in Europe who received Tecfidera
Disease mechanisms, triggers and targets
- Toxin from common foodborne bacteria discovered as potential MS trigger
- MS Society-supported researchers shed light on critical mechanisms for cell entry into the central nervous system in MS
- MS Society-funded study identifies key molecules that may impair remyelination in MS
- MS Society-supported study reveals neuroprotective role of immune cell
- Del-1, a “gatekeeper” that keeps harmful inflammatory cells out of the central nervous system, may play an important role in MS
- MS Society-funded researchers show that breakdown of the blood brain barrier precedes lesion formation in MS
- Two MS Scientific Research Foundation-funded studies shed new light on pediatric-onset MS
Tools and biomarkers
- MS Society-supported study reports biological differences that can help identify people with aggressive MS disease
- Increased blood vessel receptor protein expression found in female mice may explain differences in MS incidence rates between women and men
- Results from MS Society supported study provide new information on brain communication in people with MS