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For the past few years, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Western Australia (MSWA) has committed more than $1 million to fund research into finding the cause, better treatments, and a cure for MS. In fact, in 2015 alone our investment to research was $1.5 million. We believe that research gives people living with MS hope for the future. And, we’re looking forward to the day when we can tell people that their condition will not develop further.

MSWA CEO, Marcus Stafford says, “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."

Some of the research projects we have 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 can prevent MS developing, in people who have a first attack. This project is ongoing until the end of 2016.

The Australia & New Zealand NMO Collaboration

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a rare neurological condition, which presents in approximately 1% of relapsing-remitting cases of MS. The Australian and New Zealand NMO Collaboration seeks to identify the genetic markers which cause a person to present with NMO, over someone who does not.

ANZgene Project

This research project looks at the genes which influence susceptibility to the condition, and 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.

Enhancing balance and gait in patients with Multiple Sclerosis – combined use of balance training with non-invasive brain stimulation. Prof Soumya Ghosh

MSWA supported this WA based project with an incubator grant allocated.

This study aims to evaluate whether combining brain stimulation (transcranial direct current stimulation - tDCS) with balance therapy will improve mobility and independence among MS patients with balance and/or walking impairment.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA (MSWA) has a long history of providing significant financial contributions to Australian MS research efforts into finding the cause, better treatments and a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS).

This year, MSWA has once again led the way in funding research in Australia with a $1.5 million contribution. A generous $0.5 million has been allocated for WA based projects via our inaugural Research Funding Round.

We are now proud to announce the successful candidates which include three post doctorate research fellowships and two social and applied research applicants.

Dr Marzena Pedrini – Senior Research Officer, Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute (WANRI)

Well published in the multiple sclerosis and associated research fields, Dr Pedrini supports several current and proposed projects including “Exploring the mechanisms of MS pathogenesis", HSCT (stem cell) register, Ultraviolet B (UVB) therapy in MS and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) research.

Mr Anderson Jones – Research Officer & Clinical Trial Coordinator, Telethon Kids Institute

Mr Jones has worked on Vitamin D and UVB phototherapy MS research. He has keen interests in immunology, allergy and nutrition. He will be extending the Phototherapy for Clinically Isolated Syndrome (PhoCIS) project looking at the mechanisms by which UV affects the immune system and contributes towards finding a way to stop the progression of MS.

Dr Lucinda Black – Senior Research Officer, Department of Nutrition & Dietetics at Curtin University

Dr Black’s research will focus on exploring the link between dietary factors and the risk of MS. She will explore patterns of food intake, intake of specific foods and nutrients and whether they contribute to the risk of MS.

Professor Soumya Ghosh – Neurologist, WANRI and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

Professor Ghosh’s current research project investigates whether the use of non-invasive brain stimulation plus balance treatment enhances neuroplasticity for people with relapsing-remitting MS. Research is being funded by MS Research Australia and they have approved an extension to include progressive MS participants. MSWA funding will be used to conduct a pilot study of balance treatment and non-invasive brain stimulation for people with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis and primary-progressive multiple sclerosis.

Dr Michelle Byrne – Head of Clinical Psychology Unit, Centre for Neuromuscular & Neurological Disorders at the University of Western Australia

Dr Byrne’s project will evaluate the effects of an integrated cognitive and psychosocial rehabilitation program to facilitate improvements in cognitive and psychosocial development.

We look forward to updating you on the progress of these research projects throughout the year.

Show your support

With your support, MSWA are delivering real things to real people living with neurological conditions in Western Australia.

It is easy to show your support. You can buy a raffle ticket, a lottery ticket, even an entertainment book, or simply donate.

Find out more.