For the past two years Dr Marzena Fabis-Pedrini has been conducting research into multiple sclerosis at the Perron Institute, supported by funding from MSWA. Dr Fabis-Pedrini’s latest research focuses on benign MS and people who have low levels of disability as a result of their condition.
“What we are looking for are indicators as to why some people recover quite quickly from an MS incident and have very mild MS, while others have very severe attacks and levels of disability,” said Dr Fabis-Pedrini.
“While we didn’t find any specific clinical, genetic or MRI indicators, there are some signs that it could be associated with a younger age at onset and we found that it’s mostly women who experience milder symptoms.”
Dr Fabis-Pedrini will be conducting further research into benign MS and aggressive/progressive MS and has received direct funding of $135,000 from MSWA to extend her work for a third year.
At a time when funding for medical research is hard to source, year-on-year MSWA has increased the amount of money it invests into research to find the cause and cure for MS. This year it’s a record $2.6 million. Of that, MS Research Australia will receive $1.5 million and the International Progressive MS Alliance $500,000.
Locally, the Perron Institute will also receive $500,000 to fund a key MS research position and another research position focusing on neuroplasticity for other neurological conditions. The funding has been guaranteed for four years, taking the total to $2 million.
“We have a strong working relationship with MSWA and we’re thrilled to receive their funding. It will allow us to consolidate our position as a producer of some of the world’s best research and it will make Perth extremely relevant to MS research worldwide. The funding will allow us to attract the best people who contribute to the translation of our research into community focused outcomes,” said Perron Institute CEO, Steve Arnott.
“We recently achieved a major breakthrough, with the US Food and Drug Administration approving a treatment for muscular dystrophy using genetic patches to mask the error in the gene message that causes the condition. Our researchers are confident they can apply the same technology to treat people with some forms of multiple sclerosis.”
As well as investing millions of dollars into research over recent years, MSWA has also expanded the services and service hours it provides and built new facilities in Perth and regional Western Australia, with plans to continue expanding. MSWA CEO Marcus Stafford AM said the organisation’s strong business model drives their ability to provide.
“At MSWA, we don’t see ourselves as a not-for-profit organisation but a profit-for-purpose one. We believe it’s our job to help people with MS and other neurological conditions in every way we can. Which is why we’re pleased to be the biggest funder of research into MS and other neurological conditions in Australia. This year’s $2.6 million is more than twice the amount of all the other state’s contributions added together,” said Mr Stafford.
“But all of this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the people of Western Australia. I’d like to thank them for either making a donation, fundraising and taking part in one of our events or buying a lottery ticket. Their generosity has allowed us to grow the services and support we provide to people with MS, other neurological conditions and their families and carers.”