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McGill Scientist Using $6.1M Award Grant Towards Research in Progressive MS

September 29, 2016

In its effort to end progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), the International Progressive MS Alliance (PMSA) has awarded a $6.1 million grant to fund a research project led by Dr. Douglas Arnold with the Montreal Neurological Institute Hospital (MNI) at McGill University.

The multiyear grant is one of three Collaborative Network Award grants, totaling $18.4 million, given to international scientific teams under the organization’s mission of accelerating the pace of progressive MS research.

Arnold is leading a group of 16 researchers from The Netherlands, Switzerland, the U.K., and U.S. in a study titled, “Identifying a biomarker of disability progression for use in clinical trials.” Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers will work on identifying markers that signal MS progression in patients with progressive disease, a necessary step in the development of next-generation disease measurement tools.

Using these markers, the researchers will explore MRI as a tool capable of identifying the brain damage characteristic of progressive MS before it is evident to physicians. The work may also be used in evaluating proactive treatments for people with progressive MS whose symptoms are not yet clinically evident.

“There is an urgent need for effective therapies for progressive MS,” said Arnold in a news release. “This project will use sophisticated computerized MRI analysis techniques to develop MRI markers that can be used in early phase (phase 2) clinical trials for progressive MS. This will enable more efficient, less expensive clinical trials, lower the financial risk for drug companies to test potential therapies, and in so doing, facilitate the development of new drugs for progressive MS.”