Myelin Repair Foundation News

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Myelin Repair Foundation News

Postby dignan » Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:13 am

If it is possible to love an organization, I love the Myelin Repair Foundation...



Myelin Repair Foundation Receives $1.2 Million Grant From Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Further Accelerated Scientific Research Model

BUSINESS WIRE - Sept. 21, 2005 - The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) announced today that it has been awarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to further develop an innovative research model that may be able to speed the process of scientific discovery to medical treatment. MRF has created a unique partnership between academic researchers, scientists and business executives to define an integrated research plan, provide ongoing funding, and coordinate research efforts for maximum productivity.

MRF's Accelerated Research Collaboration (ARC) model utilizes on a micro-scale the same focused scientific collaboration and best business practices that have been the cornerstone of some of the most successful large-scale research projects in the last 60 years, including most recently, the human genome project.

"Billions of dollars spent every year on basic medical research translate into relatively few effective new therapies, and they frequently require decades to move from discovery to clinical trials," said MRF Founder and President Scott Johnson. According to Johnson, by removing the competitive nature of basic scientific research and substituting collaborative strategic planning with measurable results the Foundation will be able to bring practical, safe and effective new treatment solutions to the market in a faster, more cost-effective way.

Focused exclusively on identifying myelin repair drug targets by the year 2009, MRF provides the business infrastructure for a team of five scientists, working together virtually, from different university laboratories in the U.S. and Canada. By working on a common research plan, sharing their findings in real time, and piggybacking experiments that might otherwise have taken years to accomplish, the scientists have been able to considerably accelerate their research. In the first year of collaboration, the team has produced important results in the scientific community's understanding of mechanisms in the brain that control the process of remyelination.

"There are many foundations funding research on different diseases, but fewer that are investing in the infrastructure to manage that research process more effectively," said Nancy Barrand, RWJF senior program officer. "We funded MRF because we think they are pioneering a new research style that may have relevance to other areas that are at a stage where this type of push can produce results. This could mean faster development of treatments for millions of people suffering from disease." Funding was provided through RWJF's Pioneer Portfolio, which seeks to identify innovations that can lead to fundamental breakthroughs in health and health care.

"While MRF is specifically focused on speeding myelin repair discoveries that will lead to treatments for multiple sclerosis, we are pleased that our ARC model is being recognized by funding organizations like RWJF as having implications for research more broadly," said MRF Chief Operating Officer Rusty Bromley. "We will certainly work to make our process more visible."

About the Myelin Repair Foundation
The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) -- http://www.myelinrepair.org -- is a Northern California-based, non-profit research foundation created to provide a collaborative environment in which leading research scientists at multiple universities, and experienced business executives, can work together to execute a five-year research plan -- with milestones, parallel experiments, collaboration, and, most important, a constant focus on developing effective treatments for multiple sclerosis.

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Postby bromley » Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:15 am

Dignan,

I agree with you on the Myelin Repair Foundation. But one wonders whether all the various projects / organisations involved in myelin repair are sufficiently linked up or just competitors in a race. The UK MS Society is funding the Cambridge Myelin Repair Project (aim to test treatments in 5-10 years), the Canadian MS society is funding a similar project, the NMSS announced substantial funding for similar projects under their Promise 2010 initiative, and I recently posted the results of some stem cell research where the cells turned into myelin and mice could walk again.

No doubt there are lots of other projects in this area.

The ACTRIMS / ECTRIMS conference which takes place next week has some presentations on stem cells (I assume in relation to creating myelin). Re-myelination has also been shown to occur if the bad cells entering the CNS are stopped / reduced.

I also saw on the NZ MS website that last summer an Australian researcher was saying there would be breakthrough treatments within five years or earlier (i.e. 2009). One of the top MS experts in the UK Professor Neil Scolding is also working in this area and was looking at human trials in the next few years.

There have also been a couple of findings in the last year (including from the MRF) about myelin e.g. reasons why repair is inhibited.

Unfortunately, 2009 still seems a long way away, but the MRF seem to have the determination to deliver (probably because its head has MS!).

My only concern is about scarring. If the lost myelin has been replaced by a scar I can't understand how new myelin can get through this? I'll leave this to the scientists.


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Postby Scaggs » Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:55 am

Bromely,

Does this answer your question?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/camb ... 093237.stm

The British scientists have licensed their work to Acorda Theraputics, who are researching therapies for MS.
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Postby bromley » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:21 am

Scaggs,

Thanks - I do recall this article.

Like the Myelin Repair Foundation, Acorda Therapeutics are very much focussed on MS (and spinal cord injuries). They have several therapies in their pipeline covering re-myelination, although they are in early stages of development (link to website attached).


http://www.acorda.com/

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