Today marks the first day of the 2014 ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS meeting in the charming city of Boston, Massachusetts. When people hear Boston they often think of things like history, baseball, good food, and home to some of the world’s most prestigious and cutting-edge universities. This week, Boston lends itself to over 8,000 people from the global MS community, who have come together to share, discuss, and debate advances in multiple sclerosis research.
Every three years, the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ECTRIMS) and it’s American and Canadian counterpart ACTRIMS jointly host the world’s largest and most important scientific conference in MS. People of all capacities and from all backgrounds take part in the forum, including researchers, trainees, physicians, patient advocates, industry representatives, and allied health professionals. Together these groups share novel ideas, exchange best practices, and collaborate with their peers. In addition, the meeting offers a host of education and training workshops for young researchers and doctors, who comprise the next generation of bright minds that will lead the global effort to cure MS and improve quality of life for those affected.
Arriving at the John B. Hynes Veteran Memorial Convention Centre this morning, I felt a sense of excitement and encouragement as I look ahead to what will be presented this week. The program is filled with presentations from experts in the field, press conferences where we will be the first to hear about any major breakthroughs in research and treatment, and poster sessions in which researchers present their latest data to other attendees. Some of the topics that we will hear about include genetics, causes and risk factors of MS, therapeutic advances, myelin repair, progressive MS and biomarkers which are small molecules produced in the body that can inform if and how a person’s MS disease is progressing or responding to treatment.
My colleagues from the MS Society are also hear to listen in on what is happening in the MS research community. Angelica sat down with Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie, a clinician and researcher based in Manitoba who will be presenting her research here at the conference.