I was contacted earlier this week by Hollie Schmidt, the VP of Scientific Operations for the Accelerated Cure Project, and Rusty Bromely, the COO of The Myelin Repair Foundation, who were in town for a research conference here in New York. They knew of me from my Wheelchair Kamikaze blog, and wanted to know if I had time to meet with them. I was shocked that they knew who I was, and of course quickly agreed.
http://www.acceleratedcure.org/about/pe ... ion=2&id=7
http://www.myelinrepair.org/about/manag ... ml#Bromley
I met with them today at a nice little café, and we spoke for over 2 1/2 hours. Both were extremely personable, and incredibly smart. We discussed a wide range of subjects, from research funding to the promise of stem cells for nervous system repair to CCSVI and Zamboni.
Hollie and Rusty both were open to the notion of CCSVI. Rusty had an interesting take on the matter of iron deposition, saying that he didn't think it was being deposited by the reflux of blood itself. He believed that if CCSVI it was indeed responsible for the iron deposition being found in MS brains, it was because the reflux of deoxygenated blood was leading to the death of oligodendrocytes, which in turn were releasing iron into the brain. Needless to say, I was blown away by the fact that he was so well-versed in the theory that he could make that distinction.
Both thought that the theory was very worthy of further research, and should be relatively easy to prove or disprove. They also welcome the fact that the theory will at the very least push researchers away from the "autoimmune theory", and start attacking multiple sclerosis from different angles.
The Accelerated Cure Project is building a repository of blood samples from MS patients (currently they have over 1000 samples) for use by researchers around the world. The Myelin Repair Foundation is dedicated to breaking down the barriers between researchers and bringing promising research as quickly as possible from the lab to the clinic. They are concentrating heavily on stem cells, and believe they may be able to synthesize the chemicals that stem cells secrete when they effect tissue repair, and turn those chemicals into an easily deliverable drug.
All in all, it was a fascinating afternoon, and I feel incredibly honored to have been invited to this sit down. If you're looking for worthy organizations to make holiday donations to, I'd definitely recommend The Accelerated Cure Project and The Myelin Repair Foundation. Both could use as much funding as possible, as much of the money donated to MS research is gobbled up by the NMSS, which only devotes 17% of donated funds to research...