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Research in Action

December 2016
Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada

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Research Profile

2017 endMS Personnel Awards Community Representative: Jennifer Charters

Jennifer Charters
Every year, the Research Department finds inspiration in the personal stories from the community representatives chosen to participate in the grant and award reviews for the MS Society's Annual Research Competition. Reviews for the 2017 competition are well underway, and we spoke to Jennifer Charters, a community representative on the endMS Personnel Awards review committee, about her journey living with MS and what she hopes to gain from and contribute to the experience.

Jennifer received her diagnosis of MS a week before her 34th birthday in the fall of 2015. “This was a powerful moment for me” says Jennifer. “After a year and a half of experiencing symptoms of numbness in my limbs, fatigue, and vision disturbances, the words “MS” came almost as a relief.” Jennifer’s MS diagnosis and greater awareness of her own health empowered her to dive into the available MS research and make changes to her diet, sleep and exercise routine. “While living with a chronic condition is challenging and can be unpredictable, overall I feel healthier now than before the diagnosis” she says. “I’m supported in my care, and proud to be taking positive steps towards living a productive and fulfilling life as a person with MS.”

Jennifer is looking forward to serving as a community representatives and takes her responsibilities seriously. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to share the personal impact of the work being proposed on someone who lives with MS every day” she says. “I think I will balance my personal connection to the disease with objectivity and contribute to well informed decisions.” On top of her role as community representative, Jennifer and her husband have been involved with the MS Society since her diagnosis. With the support of her friends and family, Jennifer completed the MS Bike Fraser Valley Grape Escape, and her team raised nearly $5,000! Jennifer will be back next year with more riders and her goal is to be the top team at the event. The MS Society thanks Jennifer for her support as a fundraiser and a community representative!

Research Spotlight

Health Canada approves Zinbryta for the management of relapsing-remitting MS

Health Canada has recently approved Biogen and AbbieVie’s newest disease modifying therapy, Zinbryta (daclizumab) for adults with active relapsing-remitting MS. Zinbryta is a humanized monoclonal antibody that prevents activation and growth of disease-causing immune cells. Health Canada’s approval is based on the results of two clinical trials that demonstrated a significant reduction in relapse rates in participants taking the treatment compared to both a dummy treatment (placebo) and interferon beta-1a.

To read more about this development and other groundbreaking research, visit the Latest MS Research News on the MS Society website.

Did You Know?

Clinical trials are research studies that involve testing or studying a treatment in people to see if it is safe and effective. The information gathered in a trial is used to build essential knowledge about the new treatment, and is a critical component of the drug development process so that regulatory agencies like Health Canada can determine if a drug is suitable to be marketed in a country for an indication. To read more, visit the Introduction to Clinical Trials page.

Research Online

Earlier this month, the MS Society hosted the 2016 endMS Conference, Canada’s largest conference dedicated to MS research. This year’s conference brought together over 250 established scientists, healthcare professionals, and promising trainees from around the world to exchange knowledge and advances in MS research and disease management. The four-day event featured scientific presentations by leaders in the field, trainee workshops focused on career development, poster sessions to showcase the breadth and depth of MS research across the country, and networking events to help forge exciting new collaborations. Dr. Karen Lee and her team at the research department were behind the scenes making sure the conference ran smoothly, but also had the chance to duck away from administrative duties and provide updates on all the developments happening at the conference. Check out the research blog, as well as archived content on Twitter and Facebook, for a recap of the 2016 endMS Conference.

Get Involved in a Research Study

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. Each month, this section will highlight a select study hosted on the Portal. This month’s feature study is:

  • Self-management is a process for people with a chronic health condition, like MS, to learn the knowledge, skills and positive attitudes to best manage the challenges of living with a chronic illness. Getting on with your life with MS (GETONMS©) is a new self-management approach for people with MS. The researchers involved in this study are looking for people living with MS to test some of the practical aspects of using these personalized, self-management workbooks on the internet and to test their effects on self-management skills, symptom impact, and quality of life. For more information, visit the study page on the MS Research Portal.
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