National Multiple Sclerosis Society and BWH Partner to Beat MS

National Multiple Sclerosis Society and BWH Partner to Beat MS
Clockwise, from left to right: Jamie Stankiewicz, MD, and National MS Society awardees Howard L. Weiner, MD, and Samia Khoury, MD, discuss new technologies under study at the Partners MS Center.

Cure MS:  The mission is that clear to neurologists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). With well over 25 years of advancing understanding and treatment of this devastating disease, researchers in BWH labs are fully dedicating their efforts to answering questions about the biology of multiple sclerosis (MS) and discovering treatments that that will modify or even eliminate the disease. The results could mean freedom from the burden of distressing and unpredictable MS symptoms for millions of people.

Multiple sclerosis research at BWH would not be where it is today without the support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This year alone, the organization serving patients and families affected by MS has awarded more than $5 million to advance nine different research projects across the BWH campus.

This seismic wave of support is the latest in a long partnership between the society and BWH. As the single largest source of research support among MS organizations worldwide, the society has propelled science forward for decades, including an extraordinary $11 million in grants to research at BWH in just the last five years.

“We want to create a world free of MS and the expertise and commitment we’ve found at the Brigham helps speed us towards that goal,” says Arney Rosenblat, associate vice president of public affairs for the society. “Our volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to raise these research dollars. We know we are putting that exceptional effort to good use at the Brigham.”

Teams of BWH experts are tackling complex questions about MS, from the influence of a high-salt diet to the role of star-shaped cells called astrocytes found in the central nervous system. T-cells are also a major research focus—they are central to the body’s immune regulation and response to foreign bacteria and viruses. Senior Neurologist Howard L. Weiner, MD, and his colleagues are investigating a trail of evidence that gut microbiota, or bacteria, can disorder healthy development of immune cells.

“While we still have much to learn about MS and how to treat it, we are energized by the enormous progress we have made over the past few decades,” says Weiner. “The National MS Society is absolutely paramount to these achievements, and we couldn’t be more grateful that they are continuing to partner with us.”

In addition to its support of Weiner’s team, the society awarded recent grants to Philip De Jager, MD, PhD; Murugaiyan Gopal, PhD; Samia Khoury, MD; Vijay Kuchroo, PhD; Evan Mascanfroni, PhD; Nikolaos Patsopolous, MD, PhD; Francisco Quintana, PhD; and Chuan Wu, MD, PhD.