Our commitment to research
In recent years MSWA has invested millions of dollars to fund research into finding the cause, better treatments and a cure for MS. In 2016 alone, MSWA’s contribution was more than $2 million. We believe that research provides hope for people living with MS and hope for the future. We are looking forward to the day when we can tell people that their condition will not develop further.
“I’d like to personally thank all of the people who took part in an event, bought a raffle or lottery ticket, or donated to MSWA. It’s your generosity that allows us to provide the money for ground-breaking research projects, and to deliver vital care and support services,” said MSWA CEO, Marcus Stafford.
Some of the research projects MSWA has invested in are:
The PrevANZ Vitamin D Prevention Trial
There is a significant body of evidence which suggests that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in the development of MS. This world-first, clinical trial, will test whether vitamin D supplements, or different doses, can prevent MS developing in people who have experienced their first symptoms. Recruitment for this research will continue until the end of 2016.
The Australian & New Zealand NMO Collaboration
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a rare neurological condition, which presents in approximately 1% of people with relapsing-remitting MS. The Australian and New Zealand NMO Collaboration is looking to identify the genetic markers that cause a person to present with NMO over someone who does not.
This research project looks at the genes which influence susceptibility to MS and the progression of symptoms. The project will reveal important information about the genetic and protein interactions involved in MS and assist with understanding which mechanisms determine the severity and progression of MS.
Funding is also provided for research which aims to improve the quality of life for people already living with MS by assisting with symptom management and assessment.
Genetic variation in the Esptein-Barr Virus (EBV)
This WA research by Professor David Nolan and Dr Monika Tschochner explores new evidence of genetic vulnerability that may contribute to the role that EBV plays in MS Risk.
Enhancing balance and gait in patients with Multiple Sclerosis
MSWA is supporting this WA based project by Professor Soumya Ghosh with both an incubator grant and two years top up funding.
This study will evaluate whether combining non-invasive brain stimulation, using transcranial direct current stimulation with balance therapy improves mobility and independence among MS patients who have a balance and/or walking impairment.
Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for MS
The research by Dr Marzena Pedrini from The Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute is investigating whether rebooting the immune system will turn off the overactive immune activity which can reduce inflammation and prevent MS relapses.
UV therapy as an intervention in clinically isolated syndrome
Dr Anderson Jones from the Telethon Kids Institute is examining blood samples for differences in the immune system between participants with clinically isolated syndrome, which might be considered a ‘pre-MS’ condition and healthy controls. The research examines if UV therapy alters immune function and whether it can be used to stop the progression of MS.
Food intake and MS
Dr Lucinda Black, from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Curtin University is
exploring the patterns of the intake of specific foods and nutrients and whether they contribute to the risk of MS.
Rewiring the brain; cognitive rehabilitation
Dr Michelle Byrne, the Head of the Clinical Psychology Unit, Centre for Neuromuscular and Neurological Disorders at The University for Western Australia’s research focuses on whether through cognitive retraining programs there are other areas of the brain that can carry out the functions of the brain that are inactive because of MS lesions.
The Progressive MS Alliance Updates.
More than 2.3 million people live with MS world-wide, over 1 million of them have progressive MS. Up to 15% are diagnosed with primary progressive MS. While there have been advances in other forms of MS, progressive MS remains difficult to understand and treat.
This International Alliance was set up to focus research efforts on progressive MS. These one to two-year research projects began in 2015 and focus on six areas:
- Clinical trials and outcome measures
- Biomarkers of progression
- Gene studies
- Rehabilitation trials
- Underlying pathology of progression
- Developing new disease models
Did you know we regularly feature research articles in our publications - the quarterly MS Bulletin Magazine and the monthly Vitality e-newsletter?
“We are serious about our commitment to research. We have just consolidated our position as the leading funder of research in Australia with a record breaking contribution of $2.2 million. That includes a second year of funding for the five WA based research projects that received fellowships from MSWA in 2015. The research work ranges from bio-medical to applied and I feel an optimism I have not felt before.”