What Research is the Society Funding on Progressive MS?
Since its inception, the National MS Society has been actively involved in supporting studies related to progressive MS. The more than 350 research projects we’re currently funding explore virtually every aspect of MS, as well as more basic research into nervous system development and repair and the workings of the immune system. Most of these projects do not focus on any particular form of MS, but aim to build understanding of what causes all forms of MS and how to correct the problem.
We also support projects specifically focused on progressive forms of MS. Current or recent Society-funded projects focusing specifically on issues related to progressive MS include:
· Two studies at the University of California at San Francisco seeking new MR techniques to image spinal cord damage in MS, and tracking, in different types of MS including primary progressive, a nerve chemical that may over-excite cells and contribute to tissue damage;
· A study at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, searching for possible gene variations that may account for MS susceptibility and progression in some individuals;
· A study at the University of California at Los Angeles using new MRI techniques to discover factors contributing to onset of progression;
· A Brigham and Women’s Hospital study tracking small brain lesions in people with different forms of MS, including progressive forms, and correlating with clinical symptoms;
· A study at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, tracking individuals with mild MS-related cognitive problems to evaluate whether this symptom progresses over time;
· A study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas examining the immune dynamics at work in primary-progressive MS;
· A University of Louisville study examining a subset of immune cells that appear to contribute to a more severe, progressive disease course in mice, for clues to factors controlling MS progression in people;
· A study at the Samuel Merritt College in Oakland investigating a novel approach for improving walking and balance in MS;
· A Clarkson University (Potsdam, NY) study evaluating a wheelchair-mounted robot to improve function for people with MS;
· A study at VA Western NY Healthcare in Buffalo using novel imaging methods to track the activity of immune cells in secondary-progressive MS;
· A SUNY Upstate Medical University (Syracuse) study on the impact of an aquatic exercise program on function and quality of life;
· A study at the University of California at Los Angeles testing locomotor training to improve walking ability in people with MS-related disability;
· A study at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston testing for bacteria in people with primary-progressive and other forms of MS, for clues to the role of infectious agents in disease development;
· In the ongoing “MS Lesion Project,” Mayo Clinic investigators, with international collaborators, are analyzing MS brain lesions to link the clinical manifestations of MS and findings from MR imaging to the pathology seen directly in brain tissue. This study, involving people with every form of MS, will help us to understand whether there are different pathological types of MS that may respond to therapies differently;
· The Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study, tracking over 2,000 individuals with MS in 50 states over an extended period of time, is asking, among other questions, what factors determine the long-term course of MS, MS progression and disability.