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Accelerating the Pace of Research to End MS

MS Society of Canada and The Centre for Drug Research and Development partner to focus on MS research

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 02/24/14 -- The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) are pleased to announce their partnership to accelerate the pace of Canadian research in multiple sclerosis. The MS Society is establishing a $1 million fund with CDRD to help transform promising research discoveries in MS into therapies that will improve the lives of people affected by the disease.

"Over many decades, we have funded MS research that has led to significant insights about how the disease works and novel therapies for people living with MS," said Karen Lee, vice-president, research, MS Society of Canada. "Through our collaboration with CDRD, we will accelerate the translation of these insights to expedite the development of effective treatments that have the capacity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of people living with MS today."

The term "translational research" describes a series of steps that enable scientific discoveries to be tested and further developed into safe therapies for MS. Often these steps are overlooked because they involve another level of time and resources, or specialized infrastructure or expertise. This has created a gap in the treatment pipeline, with many promising scientific breakthroughs rendered unable to have a real impact on the person affected by MS.

To address this, the MS Society is working with CDRD to identify the most promising scientific discoveries to date, and develop them into treatments and a cure for MS. CDRD, Canada's first and only centre of its kind, has access to technologies and projects from researchers and institutions across the globe, which ensures they are in an optimal position to develop life-changing treatments. In addition, CDRD attracts and motivates industrial partners to invest in and help accelerate drug development. CDRD operates a high-level, fully integrated facility that collaborates with over 40 international organizations and a network of more than 10,000 investigators who are all involved in translational research initiatives.

CDRD President and CEO, Karimah Es Sabar commented, "The critical value of all stakeholders coming together - from the investigators conducting the breakthrough research, to foundations, translational centres, industry, government, and of course patients themselves - cannot be overstated. The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is an outstanding organization representing the patients, and CDRD is excited about our partnership and the impact it will have."

Establishing a partnership with CDRD will enable the MS Society to leverage the tools and expertise needed to achieve its goal of developing treatments that will enhance the quality of life of people living with MS.

"Focus on translational research is critical to ensuring that basic knowledge generated in the lab can find its way into the clinic," said V. Wee Yong, MS researcher and professor at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Oncology, University of Calgary. "It helps researchers like me build the right partnerships to move the right discoveries through the treatment development process."

For people living with progressive forms of MS (a type of MS marked by advanced disability), the potential benefits of translational research is monumental. Those who have progressive forms of MS are currently without any available treatment options, and there is a great need to accelerate research in this area to create treatments that will slow, stop, and reverse nerve damage.

"I believe that one day we'll find the cure for my disease, and this is why I think that our MS researchers would benefit from having access to the necessary partnerships and resources to further their ideas and breakthroughs," said Marilyn Lenzen, who was diagnosed with MS in 2000.

About multiple sclerosis and the MS Society of Canada

Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world. MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system comprising the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. It is the most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides services to people with MS and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease. Please visit mssociety.ca or call 1-800-268-7582 to make a donation or for more information.

About CDRD

CDRD is Canada's fully-integrated national drug development and commercialization centre, providing expertise and infrastructure to enable researchers from leading health research institutions to advance promising early-stage drug candidates. Its mandate is to de-risk discoveries stemming from publicly-funded health research and transform them into viable investment opportunities for the private sector - thus successfully bridging the commercialization gap between academia and industry, and translating research discoveries into new therapies for patients. Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence Program has recognized CDRD as a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). www.cdrd.ca

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