This World MS Day (May 27), we invite you to take part in the MS Society of Canada’s MS Research Town Hall (formerly known as the MS Research Webinar). This live-streamed event, taking place at 7:30pm Eastern, will feature prominent MS researchers Dr. Mark Freedman from Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Dr. Helen Genova from Kessler Foundation and Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie from the University of Manitoba. They will each discuss progress in research in multiple sclerosis with special guest host CBC Radio’s Bob McDonald from Quirks and Quarks. You will have an opportunity to ask questions directly to the researchers and be the first to hear the latest updates in areas such as progressive MS, stem cells, risk factors, and cognition.
I recently sat down with Dr. Freedman to chat about what he is up to in his research and get a sample of what he will be talking about during the telephone town hall.
1. How did you become interested in multiple sclerosis research?
I was a scientist first before entering medical school, working in molecular neurochemistry. I became interested in MS because it was an entity we knew nothing about and was challenged by a former colleague from grad school, who showed up on the MS neurology floor one day as a patient with progressive MS, to “find something for this wretched disease”.
2. How would you describe the research that you do in the area of MS?
We perform both basic and clinical study research in an effort to both understand mechanisms of disease and to find clues that we can address by novel treatments. Our recent endeavours in the world of stem cells attempt to harness nature’s own way of dealing with the disease and turn it into our favour by helping to shut down disease activity and repair lesions.
3. What impact does or will your research have for those affected by MS? / What do you hope to ultimately accomplish through your work in MS?
We hope to do no less than cure MS and rid the world of this disease!
4. What do you enjoy most about working in the area of MS and what are some challenges you have faced or face?
I enjoy not only the wonderful people I meet who are both challenging and challenged by their disease, who give me the reason for pursuing answers for them, but the opportunity to work with colleagues from all over the world who feel the same way.
5. Is there a favourite method or past time that you use in order to clear your mind before working?
I love to ski, fish and cycle. All very stress relieving!