MS Society of Canada MS Society of Canada
Research in Action - September 2021
Research in Action Newsletter
September 2021 - Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada

Think someone you know may be interested in getting this newsletter? Forward this on and they can subscribe here.
Research Updates

Stay Updated: COVID-19 and MS

People living with multiple sclerosis (MS) are seeking peace of mind on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. In response, MS Society partner organizations convened a group of international expert researchers and medical professionals to review the available science and make fact-based recommendations. The Canadian Network of MS Clinics and the MS Society of Canada’s Medical Advisory Committee have revised and endorsed the guidance for Canadians living with MS.


Researchers Identify a Novel Molecule that Enhances Production of Myelin-Forming Cells in the Brain

Promising new research by Dr. Anastassia Voronova (University of Alberta) and colleagues provide evidence for the role of an immunological molecule called fractalkine in instructing neural stem cells to become oligodendrocytes - the only cells in the brain with the ability to produce myelin. Using cell-based assays and mice, researchers showed that fractalkine accelerates the differentiation of neural stem cells to oligodendrocytes in different brain regions. If proven to be effective, fractalkine could act as a candidate molecule for the development of remyelination and regeneration treatments for MS.



FDA Backs Further Development of Blood Biomarker, Neurofilament Light, for Clinical Trials in Progressive MS

A major milestone in the goal of increasing the number and speed of clinical trials in progressive multiple sclerosis was recently achieved when the International Progressive MS Alliance received a Letter of Support from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Letter encourages the exploration and development of further studies around a molecule in blood serum or plasma - neurofilament light chain (NfL) - as a potential rapid indicator of the value of an experimental therapy in early trials involving people with progressive MS.

“Receiving this Letter of Support is a critical step that signals to industry sponsors and academic researchers the potential value of including serum neurofilament light as an exploratory outcome measure in clinical trials focusing on progressive MS. Having a simple blood test to quickly track the potential benefits of experimental therapies would be an enormous step forward for people with progressive MS, for whom there are too few therapies.” - Dr. Robert J. Fox (Vice Chair, Alliance Scientific Steering Committee)


Faces Behind the Science: Kelsi Smith

Kelsi Smith is a Canadian who is pursuing her PhD in the area of neuroscience and epidemiology at Karolinska Insitutet. In 2020, Kelsi Smith was awarded the endMS Doctoral Studentship Award funded by the MS Society of Canada. Her research is focused on investigating vitamin D, skin pigmentation genes, and the timing of sun exposure in MS development and progression.


Annual Research Competition

The MS Society is dedicated to supporting research that will lead to major advances in our understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS). We encourage researchers and trainees to submit an application to the annual research competition.

Submission deadline for new applications is October 1, 2021 at 16:00 Eastern Time.


Indigenous People and MS

Indigenous Peoples represent 4.9 per cent of the overall population in Canada, but our knowledge of MS in this population remains limited. A 2018 study led by Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie (University of Manitoba) looked at First Nations Peoples in Manitoba using population-based administrative data over a 25-year period and showed that although rates of MS in First Nations populations are lower than the general population, prevalence of MS is increasing at a dramatic rate. More research will help us better understand the experiences of Indigenous Peoples with MS to improve prevention and awareness strategies, diagnoses and treatment and care.


Dr. Jacqueline Quandt

The MS Society of Canada welcomes Dr. Jacqueline Quandt as a new member of the Medical Advisory Committee. Dr. Quandt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and the Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia. She is a researcher and educator and Associate Director of the UBC MS Research Group. Her laboratory focuses on the relative contributions of inflammatory cells and mediators to disease development with emphasis on identifying and understanding novel pathways and therapeutics relevant to MS and other inflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders. Follow Jacqueline’s work at or on twitter @jacquiequandt.
Get Involved
Go the distance. Make a difference - from anywhere

This summer, ride 90KM to support Canadians living with MS. Do it in a day or over one week and we’ll send you an exclusive finisher medal to show off your positive impact.

Register today and ride toward the ultimate finish line - a world free of MS!

Turning people’s ordinary hobbies and passions into extraordinary actions.

We Challenge MS is a nationwide movement turning people’s ordinary hobbies and passions into extraordinary actions. Whether you choose to create, stream, write, bake, game, craft, walk, share, cycle, run however you choose to challenge MS, know that, #WeChallengeMS together.


MS Can Be Young Summit

Join us on October 1st and 2nd, at an event built around building community, connecting with other young adults affected by MS, empowerment in the areas of employment, finance, and healthcare, and shared wellness opportunities. We hope participants will be present, communicate, share, and find support.


Interested in Participating in Research?

The MS Research Portal is a resource provided by the MS Society of Canada that aims to connect Canadian researchers seeking participants for studies with people affected by MS who want to get involved in research.

Spatial Navigation Intervention for people with progressive multiple sclerosis
Trial Investigators: Drs. Robin Green and Asaf Gilboa (Toronto Rehabilitation Institute)

This study investigates a promising behavioural intervention for improving memory function and staving off neurodegeneration for individuals aged 18-55 living with primary or secondary progressive MS. The intervention entails learning about and navigating different cities around the world through the study’s website: learning new routes of cities, making a map in one's head of those routes and navigating them using Google Street View on a home computer, tablet or smartphone. Participants will be asked to complete these activities for 1 hour/day, 5 days per week for 16 weeks, and they get rewards along the way to make it more fun.

Participant recruitment is ongoing until May 2022.

Interested in a research topic or event that was not covered? Submit your feedback to

Correction in previous issue: Please note that Beverley MacAdam was incorrectly titled “Dr.”
Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube Blog
About Us | Donate | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Unsubscribe
MS Society of Canada Imagine Canada
MS Society of Canada
250 Dundas Street West, Suite 500
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2Z5

Email not looking right? View email in browser

powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software