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Research in Action

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

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Research Profiles

Canadian Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) Trial participant, Jennifer Molson

Jennifer Molson (Credit: The Ottawa Hospital)
The publication of the results of the Canadian BMT Trial in The Lancet marked an important turning point in the treatment of MS, providing a new treatment avenue for certain people with early, aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis. Jennifer Molson is one of the participants of the trial whose life was impacted by the procedure. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of MS at the age of 21, Jennifer went from being a healthy, active adult to living with significant disability in a matter of years. When her neurologist at The Ottawa Hospital, Dr. Mark Freedman, suggested that she participate in an experimental but potentially risky procedure that he was conducting, Jennifer remembers that it was an easy decision for her to make. “I was unable to care for myself without the help of my husband,” she recalls. “I was living at The Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre with 24-hour care only to be sent home on weekends.”

14 years later, Jennifer has gained what she refers to as a second chance at life. Regaining full control of her body, she can now wear high heels, drive, mow the lawn, and even downhill ski and kayak. Jennifer is back to working full time and holds a position as a Research Assistant at The Ottawa Hospital. Despite her busy schedule, Jennifer tirelessly advocates for stem cell research as part of the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy, and she hopes to see more targeted stem cell therapies for disease in the future. For more information on Jennifer’s story and the Canadian BMT Trial, please visit Dr. Karen Lee’s blog.

Research Events and Funding Opportunities

Information and exercise events offered by the MS Society

Please visit the MS Society Events website for details on the following events as well as others in your area:

  • In an effort to engage those affected by multiple sclerosis in evidence-based exercise programs, the Durham Northumberland Chapter is happy to announce the VON Smart program with multiple dates in June.
  • The MS Society will be holding an information session called MS 101 for those who are newly diagnosed or wanting information on causes and treatments.

Application Call for the Alberta MS Collaborative Team Grant Competition

The Alberta Multiple Sclerosis Collaboration (Alberta MS Collaboration) is accepting basic science and health research team proposals from investigators based in Alberta for collaborative projects on multiple sclerosis (MS) focused on neuroprotection and repair. For more information regarding the application process or any additional details such as funding and investigator roles, please view the Request for proposals. Applications can be submitted through the MS Society of Canada’s Easygrants system.

MS Updates

Rebooting the immune system stops new disease and leads to recovery in people with aggressive multiple sclerosis

Source: Wiki-media Commons
Results of the Canadian Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) Trial, launched by the MS Scientific Research Foundation in 2000, were recently published in the medical journal The Lancet. The study, led by Drs. Mark Freedman and Harry Atkins at The Ottawa Hospital, found that rebooting the immune system with a procedure involving chemotherapy and transplantation of blood-forming stem cells stopped brain inflammation in participants who completed the treatment, and in some cases led to substantial, long-term recovery. Read more…

Genetic mutation strongly linked to aggressive form of progressive MS discovered in MSSRF-funded biobank

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Researchers at the University of British Columbia, including Drs. Dessa Sadovnick and Carles Vilariño-Güell, used information mined from The Canadian Collaborative Project on Genetic Susceptibility to MS biobank to identify a single genetic mutation that was strongly associated with a specific form of severe, progressive MS. Read more…

In Other MS News…

Website and Research Blog

  • The MS Society of Canada has updated the research website at The goal of these updates is to enhance the visitor experience by providing new or expanded information and to streamline navigation to make it easier for visitors to find information about the MS Society’s research programs and hot topics in research.
  • On the heels of the publication of two breakthrough studies funded by the MS Scientific Research Foundation , MS Society Vice-President, Research Dr. Karen Lee weighs in with her personal take on the role of genetics in MS and the emergence of new options for personal treatment approaches for people living with MS.

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 select studies from across Canada hosted on the Portal. If you are a researcher looking to post a study, or if you are a person affected by MS who would like to take part in a study, visit

  • A needs assessment to inform the development of a dyadic physical activity program for people with MS who have moderate to severe disability and their caregivers — Ontario: Researchers at Queen’s University are conducting a study to identify concerns and priorities for physical activity programming among people with MS who have moderate to severe disability and their family caregivers. Click here to read more about how to participate in the study.
  • Innovative Technology for Caregivers (INToCARE) — British Columbia: This study, conducted at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver, aims to identify specific aspects of caregiving that are most challenging to caregivers of people living with MS and involve their preferences in the development of technological solutions to address those challenges. Click here to read more about how to participate in the study.
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