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Research in Action

January 2018
Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada

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Research Profile

Shannon Bachorick
Having lived in Regina, Saskatchewan for most of her life, Shannon Bachorick was a translator for 15 years before her MS affected her language abilities. When her son was just three years old, Shannon had lost her sight, which finally led to her diagnosis. Since she has changed her diet and lifestyle, Shannon remains mostly symptom-free.

In the past few years, Shannon has remained an active volunteer and participant with the MS Society with the MS Walk and MS Bike, with her team cleverly named “Inflamed in the Membrane”. “It’s important to raise and funds for others living with MS and for the amazing researchers dedicated to studying the disease and looking for a cure,” says Shannon.

However, her biggest contribution thus far has been as a Community Representative for the Annual Grant Review. Returning for the second year, she recalls her first experience as a Community Representative, “Last year when I participated in this process, it was very humbling to interact with the scientists who have dedicated their career to MS research and to read the grant proposals from people who have no connection to MS yet wish to work toward finding a cure. I also realized that scientific research is not a 9 to 5 job with a nice cushy pay cheque. Instead it is like being an artist who lives grant to grant.”

Research Events and Funding Opportunities

MS Society is accepting applications for endMS Summer School and SPRINT

The MS Society’s annual endMS Summer School will be hosted in Toronto at the Hospital for Sick Children’s Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, June 11-14, 2018. The theme of the 2018 endMS Summer School is “Environmental and Lifestyle Factors Associated With MS: Bench to Bedside”. Applications opened December 13, 2017 until February 15, 2018. Visit the endMS Summer School website for updates. The MS Society is also offering the Scholar Program for Researchers IN Training (SPRINT), which eligible trainees can apply for until February 13, 2018. Visit the SPRINT website for details.

MS researchers and clinicians gear up for scientific conference

Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) will welcome researchers, clinicians, and trainees from around the world to San Diego, California for ACTRIMS Forum 2018. The scientific conference will take place February 1-3, and will feature presentations from leading MS experts on topics including new therapeutic targets, underlying mechanisms of disease, neuroinflammation, and MS clinical trials. For more information on this forum meeting, visit the ACTRIMS FORUM 2018 website. The MS Society research team will be on site reporting on the latest research in MS.

The Alberta MS Network is accepting applications for 2018 Summer Studentships

The Alberta MS networks is accepting applications from students enrolled in an undergraduate program who are interested to work on multiple sclerosis related research under the supervision of researchers in Alberta. The deadline to apply is February 23, 2018 MST. For more information and to download the application, visit the Alberta MS Network awards webpage.

Research Spotlight

In her New Year’s post, Dr. Karen Lee recapped 2017s most memorable research highlights, such as the publication of the minocycline clinical trial results and bridging the gap between basic biomedical and clinical trials by funding projects in the translational research space. She also touched on the approval of new disease-modifying therapies by Health Canada in 2017 bringing the total number 15 approved drugs for the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS. These and numerous other research advancements set the stage for ongoing progress in MS. See the full post here.

MS Society Funded Research

Dr. Helen Tremlett

This month we are featuring projects led by Dr. Helen Tremlett, a Professor of Neurology at The University of British Columbia (UBC) in the Faculty of Medicine, Division of Neurology. Dr. Tremlett obtained her PhD from Cardiff University in the UK with a focus in pharmacoepidemiology and multiple sclerosis. She leads the Pharmacoepidemiology in MS (PiMS) research group at UBC. Dr. Tremlett was awarded the Don Paty Career Development Award from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada from 2004-2013. Her research interest lie in the areas of prognosis and predictors of disease progression in MS, effectiveness of immune system modulating drugs in MS and MS epidemiology to name a few.

Dr. Tremlett was awarded over $250,000 in the 2015-2016 Annual Competition to carry out a project to test the safety and adherence of oral disease-modifying therapies in MS. Dr. Helen Tremlett and her team will use a combination of health administrative data, prescription information and laboratory test results to analyze information for fingolimod (Gilenya), dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera) and teriflunomide (Aubagio) in people living with MS from British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This study is essential for gaining an initial understanding of current use of oral therapies for MS and early signs of risk so that clinicians can make evidence-informed decisions about the treatment management plans for people living with MS.

Dr. Helen Tremlett is also the lead scientist on a collaborative team grant in the amount of over $500,000. The collaborative Team grant is examining the composition of the gut microbiome in children living with MS, since the gut microbiome is thought to play a fundamental role in immune development during childhood. Dr. Tremlett’s study will be undertaken in collaboration with the Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease study to gather clues about how the bacteria in the gut can influence the development of MS during the earliest stages of the disease.

Did you know?

Epidemiologists study how often a disease can occur in different groups of people and why this occurs. The research performed by epidemiologists’ shape policy decisions through identification of risk factors, incidence and prevalence of disease, and history and progresis of disorders. Dr. Helen Tremlett (highlighted above) is an epidemiologist by training with the focus on MS.

Get Involved in a Research Study

Cannabis Use in Multiple Sclerosis: A Cognitive and Neuroimaging Study.

Dr. Feinstein and his team are conducting a study to determine the effects of cannabis use in people with Multiple Sclerosis. The visit will consist of a standardized clinical interview inquiring about the signs and symptoms of psychiatric illnesses. A short cognitive assessment (30-35 minutes) will be given, after which the participant will undergo functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. For more information please visit the study page.

In Other MS News...

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