07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

MS Halted in 70% of Study Participants

By Madelle Morgan

For several years I've sponsored a friend in an annual cycling event to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. I contributed to support my friend, not because I have a family member with MS or any other vested interest in a cure. 

Well, last week I read on the front page of the June 10, 2016 edition of the Ottawa Citizen newspaper that local researchers put MS Society of Canada funding to work with spectacular, game-changing success! The $6.47 million research study and clinical trial using stem cells resulted in this: an incredible 70% of trial participants experienced a complete stop in disease progression.

This homegrown clinical trial is the first to show the "complete, long-term suppression of all inflammatory activity in people with MS," according to Dr. Harry Atkins, a researcher at the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital.

My modest annual contribution to the MS Society of Canada, combined with thousands of similar donations, added up to make a difference. In fact, the research study would not have happened without us. MS, with 100,000 Canadian sufferers, does not have a high profile, and consequently does not receive a significant share of the limited federal government research funding available.

Learning about this breakthrough made my day, but it's nothing compared to the impact that the research will ultimately have on the 2.3 million MS sufferers around the world.

Background on MS

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. Progressive nerve damage causes muscle weakness and difficulty walking, balance and coordination issues, vision problems, slurred speech and trouble swallowing, among other symptoms. The cause is unknown.

According to the Mayo Clinic, women are twice as likely as men to develop MS. It's more common in temperate climates such as those in Canada, the northern United States, New Zealand and parts of Australia, and Europe.

More info can be found at these links:

National Multiple Sclerosis Society (U.S.)
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

The Last Word

The Ottawa Citizen article quotes Jennifer Molson, a clinical trial participant, who says, "I got my life back."

I'm so glad my few bucks contributed to your recovery, Jennifer, and ultimately the recoveries of thousands of other sufferers.

Collectively, we CAN make a difference!


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Judith Ashley said...

An inspiring story, Madelle. More proof that one person acting in harmony with others can make a difference in the world but more specifically in the life of even one person.

Diana McCollum said...

I really enjoyed your insightful post.