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November 2015
Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada
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Table of Contents

Research Profiles

Melissa Goldstein

Melissa Goldstein
Melissa Goldstein

Melissa Goldstein was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS three years ago at the age of 24. Rather than letting MS take control of her life, Melissa became a champion for the MS community by sharing her story and inspiring other young people diagnosed with MS to not give up hope. Using her experience from film school, Melissa was instrumental in planning and executing the MS My Story video project, and was one of the featured young adults to share their difficult journey through the ups and downs of their MS.

For Melissa, one key to managing her MS is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “I love to cook and do it as often as I’m able to,” she says. “I love to try and come up with new ideas using some of my favourite healthy ingredients - right now my favourite thing to cook with is butternut squash!” On top of a healthy diet, Melissa recently took up swimming, which she finds is a great low impact exercise and feels like a positive step towards living a healthier lifestyle.

This past summer, Melissa tapped into her enthusiasm for living a healthy lifestyle by helping the MS Society’s research department in creating the MS Wellness Survey that was launched this past August. Melissa’s input during the development phase was critical to ensuring that the survey captured the voice of the MS community and posed questions that would bring to light the priorities and gaps in health and wellness among people living with MS. Thanks, Melissa, for making the MS Wellness Survey possible!

More information about, and full results from, the MS Wellness Survey will be made available on the MS Society research website shortly.

Research Events and Funding Opportunities

MS Society’s 8th annual endMS Summer School announced

The MS Society’s endMS National Training Program recently announced that the 8th annual endMS Summer School will be hosted in Vancouver at the University of British Colombia, June 13-16, 2016. The theme of the 2016 endMS Summer School is “The Evolving Art and Science of MS Care”. Applications will be accepted starting December 2015. Visit the endMS Summer School website for updates.

CQDM and Brain Canada launch funding opportunity to accelerate development and commercialization of platform technologies in neurosciences

The program will support pre-competitive research or platforms and tools that can enhance, improve, accelerate and facilitate the discovery or the development of new drugs. It covers all scientific and technical fields directly related to new drug discovery and all research areas that could provide new tools for biopharmaceutical research relevant to the neurosciences, special senses, and mental health. Candidates have until December 15, 2015 to submit their letter of intent by filling out the form which will be available on Brain Canada’s website. For more information regarding eligibility and application process, check out the CQDM website.

MS medical and research experts to share important insights at Toronto MS education event

The MS Society’s Ontario & Nunavut Division is pleased to share an exciting education opportunity on Saturday November 14th at 1:00pm at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. This will be a great introduction for new staff and refreshers for seasoned staff to learn about MS. Dr. Daniel Selchen from the St. Michael’s Hospital MS Clinic as well as Dr. Rosalind Kalb from the National MS Society will be presenting on topics including empowerment and living well with MS, therapy considerations, and challenges that people with relapsing and remitting MS face (family planning and sexuality).

WAMS luncheon to honour special guests and raise funds for research

The Women Against MS luncheon will take place on Friday November 20th at the beautiful Terminal City Club in Vancouver, BC. The luncheon will include a Q&A session on women’s leadership led by CTV Morning Live’s Anchor Keri Adams, keynote presentations from Janet Kestin & Nancy Vonk, co-creators of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, a research update from MS Society VP of Research Dr. Karen Lee, and a silent auction and raffle. WAMS is also proud to honour Cynthia Millar, Partner and Director of Research with DLA Piper (Canada) LLP, whose contribution to the MS Society’s Volunteer Legal Advocacy Program has impacted numerous lives of those living with MS. Visit for more information, and join the conversation online on Twitter (@wamsbc).

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MS Updates

Researchers link the “clock” hormone melatonin to seasonal MS relapses

Credits: Other Side of Time by Jevgenijs Slihto / CC BY

The activity of MS relapses follows the seasons; MS attacks are generally more frequent in the spring and summer and quiet down in the fall and winter. Recently, an international team of scientists from Argentina and the United States singled out the “clock” hormone melatonin whose levels in the body peak over the fall/winter months and asked if melatonin is behind this seasonal pattern of MS relapses. The findings from the study suggest that melatonin might have a protective effect by decreasing the number and severity of MS relapses. Read more…

Study jointly funded by MS Society of Canada and National MS Society finds CCSVI is not associated with MS

Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) was first described by Italian doctor Paolo Zamboni in 2009, who believed that abnormalities in blood drainage from the brain and spinal cord was a contributing factor in the development of MS. In 2010, the National MS Society (USA) and MS Society of Canada jointly committed over $2.4 million to support seven research projects that would study the relationship between CCSVI and MS. One of these studies, led by Dr. Robert Fox at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, was recently published and revealed no association between CCSVI and MS. Read more…

MS Scientific Research Foundation-funded study identifies specific type of white blood cell involved in MS

Credits: Dr. Triche, National Cancer Institute

While MS research has largely focused on the role of T cells in the disease process, attention has lately turned to another type of white blood cell called B cells. Dr. Amit Bar-Or (McGill University) and collaborators with the aid of a collaborative grant from the MS Scientific Research Foundation have set out to understand which B cells are good and which ones are bad in order to block the bad ones while allowing the good ones to remain active in fighting disease. Their work recently led to a breakthrough discovery of a specific type of highly inflammatory B cell that appeared to be a major driver of MS. Read more…

In Other MS News…

Research Blog

This year’s Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) conference in Barcelona was attended by over 8,000 people from around the world, including MS Society Vice-President, Research Dr. Karen Lee and her research team. In a multi-part series on her research blog, Dr. Lee recounts her experiences from this year’s landmark meeting. Check out the blog to watch video highlights direct from the conference, read summaries of key research findings and watch exclusive interviews with experts in MS research.


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