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Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada

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Research Profiles

Meet the Community Representative: Lelainia Lloyd

In addition to being an established and successful artist, Lelainia Lloyd works tirelessly as an advocate, educator, and volunteer in order to improve the lives of individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Initially diagnosed with MS in 2007, and re-diagnosed with NMO in 2012, Lelainia's passion for creating a positive impact is immense. Her efforts have been recognized with several awards, the most recent being the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for a lifetime of volunteer service. Earlier this year, Lelainia served as a community representative on the MS Society's Personnel Awards Review Committee, and has been invited back for a second term.

Check out this video of Lelainia speaking about her experience as a MS Society of Canada Community Representative for NMO Patient Day in Los Angeles, as well as the profiles of all our Community Representatives.

Research Events and Funding Opportunities

RBC Golf Tournament to end MS achieves major fundraising milestone

More than 500 guests attended the 18th Annual RBC Golf Tournament to end MS, which raised a total of $790,000 for ground breaking research. MS neurologist and recipient of an MS Society endMS Transitional Career Development Award Dr. Jiwon Oh spoke at the event about her transition from MS research to the clinic where she is committed to improving lives of people living with MS. There are a number of fundraising events happening this summer that you can still register for, such as MS Bike and ALPHA Obstacle Course Race for the Cure.

Check out this video of Lelainia speaking about her experience as a MS Society of Canada Community Representative for NMO Patient Day in Los Angeles, as well as the profiles of all our Community Representatives.

Reviews underway for CPH, CDRD and PMSA research funding competitions

Scientists, clinicians, and members of the public are busy reviewing applications submitted to the MS Society's Clinical and Population Health (CPH) Operating Grant Spring competition, the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)'s progressive MS call, and the Progressive MS Alliance (PMSA)'s Collaborative Network Awards competition. Each funding competition is unique in terms of eligibility, research focus and funding. Results of the competitions will be announced between late 2015 and 2016.

Call for patient input for new MS drug peginterferon beta-1a

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) is recently wrapped up a drug review for an emerging MS treatment called peginterferon beta-1a. Marketed as Plegridy™ by Biogen, this drug is a new formulation of interferon beta-1a that enables it to last longer in the body, reducing the dosing schedule. People living with MS or providing care for someone with MS were asked to take part in this important initiative by completing a survey and providing feedback on the impact, or potential impact, of the drug on their MS. This valuable input will help to inform important decisions around drug coverage and access. Stay tuned for upcoming notices posted by the MS Society for future surveys that people affected by MS can take part in.

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MS Updates

Study finds anxiety, but not depression, is linked to gender in MS

People living with MS are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression than the general population. Studies in the general population show higher rates of depression and anxiety in females; however, the impact of gender on mental health conditions in people living with MS is unknown. A study led by MS Society-funded researcher Dr. Anthony Feinstein explores and compares the rates of depression and anxiety across genders in MS. Read more...

Could running help to reduce MS-related pain?

Roughly 50% of people living with MS experience pain related to the disease. Exercise is a promising therapeutic option for MS-related pain, since it can successfully alleviate other MS symptoms such as depression, fatigue and anxiety. A team of MS Society-funded researchers at the University of Alberta - including doctoral student Curtis Benson and Donald Paty Career Development Award recipient Dr. Bradley Kerr - set out to explore the potential of exercise to improve MS-related pain. Read more...

New study could help monitor disease and brain health in people with secondary progressive MS

MS Society-funded postdoctoral fellow Dr. Erin MacMillan investigates two brain molecules that could one day help monitor MS disease progression and assess responses to treatment. The levels of these molecules - glutamate and glutamine - in the brain were shown to fall rapidly over a two-year period in participants living with secondary progressive MS, suggesting that they could mark a decline in brain health. Read more...

Researchers gain new insight into how front-line MS drug interferon-beta works to tone down inflammation

(photo credit: TipsTimesAdmin / Flickr)Interferon-beta (IFN-b) is one of the front-line therapies against relapsing-remitting MS that reduces inflammation by targeting disease-causing T-cells. Until recently, researchers have thought that IFN-b works indirectly by interacting with special messenger cells in order to switch off T-cells. New findings by EMD Serono and MS Society-funded researcher Dr. Manu Rangachari suggest a different mechanism. Read more...

In Other MS News...

Research Blog

The brain and spinal cord have traditionally been considered insulated from the lymphatic system, which is integral to the movement of important immune cells around the body and the mounting of an immune response to infection. A recent study published in the journal Nature made waves in the scientific community by presenting the first concrete evidence of a direct gateway between the lymphatic system and the brain.

MS Society Vice-President, Research Dr. Karen Lee weighs in this ground-breaking study on her research blog, and highlights some of the implications of this gateway between the lymphatic system and the brain on our understanding of MS, its disease mechanisms and the potential for a new therapeutic target.

Dr. Lee's Research Decoder column continues to demystify some of the buzzwords that get tossed around the scientific community. Some of the latest topics Karen covers include comorbidities and biomarkers. Learn more about these and other concepts at


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