New MS research projects announced

21 October 2014

There is good news in the MS research world, as the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has announced new research projects that will receive funding from 2015. Of these, four are new MS research projects which will benefit from this funding over the next three to five years.

The new projects include evaluating the need for access to specialised palliative care services, treatment choices for progressive forms of MS, symptomatic therapies, and fundamental research into the repair of myelin.

Researchers from Curtin University, UWA, University of Newcastle and Silver Chain together with Sue Shapland from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA(MSWA) have been awarded over $360,000 from the highly prestigious NHMRC to investigate whether people with multiple sclerosis might benefit from specialised palliative care towards the end of life. The study will be led by Professor Lorna Rosenwax from Curtin University, and will explore the perceptions and experiences of health professionals, people with MS and their carers regarding palliative care needs. The study will also estimate the probability of people with MS receiving community-based palliative care and demonstrate if receiving this service reduces demand for and cost of emergency department and hospital visits for people in the last year of life.

“As you know, in some people, multiple sclerosis can cause progressive deterioration and have an "end of life" phase but because of the historical focus of palliative care on cancer, people with MS are unlikely to be well serviced by current palliative care services. The study will determine whether people with MS need or want community-based palliative care, whether they are getting access to palliative care, whether they benefit from palliative care and if receipt of this service relieves some of the burden on hospital and emergency departments,” said Professor Lorna Rosenwax.

Research into the repair of myelin in MS will be studied by Dr Kaylene Young, a researcher from the Menzies Research Institute of Tasmania. This research project will aim to understand how myelin can be repaired in the brain and spinal cords for people with MS and has received $589,583 funding.

Doctor Thomas Kalincik, researcher and neurologist of the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital has received funding of $488,475 to analyse treatment decisions for people with progressive MS. The objective of this project will be to offer people with MS individualised treatment and better predict the outcome of treatments.

Botulinum toxin is used to treat symptoms people experience from MS, including spasticity, spasms and bladder symptoms. Dr Anneke van der Walt will be investigating if a MS tremor can be improved by taking this treatment option, through a combined clinical, electrophysiological and neuroimaging approach. This project has received funding of $524,894.

This year, MSWA has donated a record $1.25 million to MS Research Australia to help find the cause, better treatments and the cure for MS.

For a full list of NHMRC funding please visit

Information sourced from:

Professor Lorna Rosenwax
MS Research Australia
Melbourne Neuroscience Institute