Welcome to 2014!
I hope you all had a joyful, warm, and well-rested holiday. As the MS Society office took a short break, the research world continued to buzz. Preliminary and advanced stage clinical trials for MS therapies are well underway. Just a few weeks ago, a research team from Europe conducted the first in-human phase I clinical trial of an improved anti-inflammatory therapy that has demonstrated the potential to treat MS. Earlier experiments which tested the drug in animals were presented last fall at ECTRIMS, and it is great to see the progress that has been made in such a short period of time.
In addition to clinical trials, laboratories and clinics across Canada and around the world continue to uncover important clues about MS and are making breakthrough discoveries nearly every day. MS Society doctoral studentship recipient Elodie Brison and colleagues from Laval, Québec recently published an article in the Journal of Virology which reveals an association between a respiratory virus and neurodegenerative diseases such as MS.
In their study, mice infected with the respiratory virus displayed MS-like symptoms including inflammation of the brain, motor dysfunctions and paralysis. Elodie and her research team were able to dampen these effects with memantine – a treatment widely used for Alzheimer’s disease and possesses antiviral and neuroprotective properties. Mice treated with memantine showed reduced viral activity and improved health outcomes. Elodie’s research points to important clues about the role of viruses in MS, and opens doors for the development of new treatments.
I am assured that this year will witness significant advancements in key areas in MS research, including cause, environment and lifestyle impacts, myelin repair and progressive MS. I invite you to visit my blog to hear about the latest news on the research front. Also, if you come upon any interesting studies in MS, I welcome you to post them in the comments section and maybe start an interesting discussion!