Three new grants totaling £3.6 million are to be made by the International Progressive MS Alliance to researchers in an attempt to speed up the pace of research into progressive MS. This is good to see as research into finding treatment for this type of MS is often said to have lagged behind.
The Alliance is a international collaboration of MS organisations around the world and these Collaborative Network Awards are each three-year grants.
The projects receiving the funding are:
- Identifying a biomarker of disability progression for use in clinical trials
This network is led by Douglas Arnold from McGill University in Canada and includes researchers from the Institute of Neurology at University College London. The team is pioneering the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers that signal disease progression, and adapting these for use in early clinical trials of progressive MS treatments.
- Bioinformatics and cell reprogramming to develop an in vitro platform to discover new drugs for progressive multiple sclerosis (also known as BRAVEinMS)
This project is led by Gianvito Martino from San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy. The BRAVEinMS team is working to identify molecules that may have a role in protecting nerve cells or the capacity to promote myelin repair.
- Development of a drug discovery pipeline for progressive MS
Francisco Quintana from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US is leading a network spanning America, Austria, Canada and Israel. Their goal is to identify drug candidates that may be effective therapies for progressive MS and that will be ready for evaluation in patients within four years.
Bringing great hope
Caroline Sincock has progressive MS and is on the Alliance’s Scientific Steering Committee. She said: “As someone who lives with progressive multiple sclerosis, it brings me great hope to see such international efforts to work together to answer questions about one of the least understood forms of MS.”