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Research in Action

March 2017
Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada

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Research Profile

2017 Clinical and Population Health Operating Grants Community Representative: Coriann Berry

Coriann Berry - Airdrie, Alberta
Throughout her life, Coriann Berry has learned to be adaptable to different situations. She attended the Royal Military College to study chemical and materials engineering and worked in the Canadian Armed Forces as an Officer along with several senior management positions within the oil industry. However, one situation that was particularly difficult to adapt to was her experience with multiple sclerosis.

Coriann’s first encounter with the disease was when her younger brother was diagnosed nearly a decade ago. “I have always been his protector,” says Coriann. “But I could not protect him from this disease.” Her second was seven years later when Coriann received her own diagnosis of MS, which brought her already complicated relationship with MS to an entirely new level. Yet, she she faced her own and her brother’s diagnosis with ME with courage and didn’t allow MS to hold her back from getting involved and doing her part.

Coriann understands the importance of raising funds for research and has been an avid volunteer for programs such as the MS mailing campaigns, as well both participating and volunteering for the MS Walk. “I am most passionate about trying to find a cure and understanding what causes MS,” Says Coriann. “If we can understand what causes it we will be closer to finding a cure.” This passion inspired her to become a Community Representative for the Annual Research Competition. This is her second year being a member of a review committee where she not only had the chance to observe how the decision to fund scientific studies get made, but also got the chance to review the studies herself and provide her input in the decision-making process through the lens of someone affected by MS.

This experience has made Coriann realize that there is a great deal that she can do in her battle with MS. “I am not just going to sit back… I am a fighter and I need to do everything in my power to beat this disease for me, my family, my baby brother, and my little niece and nephew, who now have a greater risk of developing MS. I want to help find a cure in my lifetime.” We thank Coriann and the other Community Representatives for their passion and dedication to ensuring that the best and most impactful MS research gets funded!

Research Events and Opportunities

MS Progression Cohort - Call for Letters of Intent

The MS Society of Canada, Brain Canada and Biogen are pleased to announce a new and innovative research initiative to study disease progression in people living with MS in Canada. This multi-stakeholder partnership is a novel opportunity to support MS research with the intent to build a national cohort of MS patients. This funding opportunity has the overall goals of serving as an open access tool to stimulate continued MS research in Canada that will benefit the MS patient, research and clinical communities and serve as a resource and model for the study of other neurological diseases. Please visit the MS Society’s MS Progression Cohort page for more information on eligibility, application process, and timelines.

Multi-Centre Collaborative Team Grant: Call for Letters of Intent

The MS Society of Canada and its affiliated MS Scientific Research Foundation are pleased to announce that the 2017 Multi-Centre Collaborative Team Grant competition is now open. The Team Grant, which awards up to $4.5M in research funding, supports interdisciplinary networks of Canadian and international researchers who conduct innovative and transformative research in multiple sclerosis. It provides them the opportunity to leverage research and clinical knowledge and experiences across research expertise and regions, and apply that combined experience to achieve groundbreaking outcomes in understanding and treating MS. Please visit the MS Society’s Team Grant page for more information on eligibility, application process, and timelines.

Hosting an MS research event in your community? Submit it to msresearchgrants@mssociety to be featured in Research in Action!

Research Spotlight

Preliminary Analyses of Pan-Canadian Interventional Clinical Trial for CCSVI in Multiple Sclerosis Completed

Credits: “Arteria temporalis” by J. Heuser / Creative Commons
Preliminary results were announced about a phase I/II pan-Canadian CCSVI clinical trial led by MS neurologist and researcher Dr. Anthony Traboulsee from the University of British Columbia. The primary purpose of the clinical trial was to evaluate the safety of venoplasty (a procedure that involves inserting a balloon that widens the veins and improves blood flow) versus placebo in people with multiple sclerosis who displayed signs of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI).

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

Did You Know?

The MS Society of Canada (MSSC) has committed to funding over $5.8 million in grants and awards so far in 2017 to support researchers and trainees in carrying out studies investigating all aspects of multiple sclerosis. In all, the MSSC has announced funding for 14 Operating Grants led by researchers from across Canada, giving them the funding they need to conduct ground-breaking research in a variety of important topics, including causes and risk factors, symptom management, mechanisms of disease, imaging and treatment. The MSSC is also pleased to offer 17 Postdoctoral Fellowships and 36 Research Studentships to promising trainees to provide them with funding support to pursue their research training and broaden their scientific understanding of MS. To see the full list of awardees and the title of their projects, see our Funding Announcements.

Be sure to visit the MSSC’s Funding Opportunities page for current funding opportunities, including two recently launched competitions: MSSC-Brain Canada-Biogen MS Progression Cohort and MSSRF Collaborative Team Grant.

Research Online

Earlier this month, Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie and her colleagues published their findings on opinions of people living with MS on medical assistance in dying (MAID). In a survey of more than 7,500 people, nearly 65% would consider MAID if experiencing unbearable pain and 50% if they were unable to enjoy anything in life. This controversial topic also brought to light factors such as depression correlated with MAID and highlighted the need of providing adequate support for people living with MS. Additional details on these results can be found on Dr. Karen Lee’s research blog.

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:

  • Dr. Ben Mortenson (University of British Columbia) and his research team are conducting a study to explore the feasibility of a new one-to-one community based scooter training program. This study involves 1-2 training sessions a week over 6 weeks that are provided by an Occupational Therapist. In addition to receiving training, you will answer questions about your scooter use and daily life, as well as complete a scooter mobility skills test. From the information gathered from this study, they hope to conduct larger intervention studies on how training programs can help increase community participation. For more information please visit the study page on the MS Research Portal.
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