"Toronto, May 14/2009 - In a move intended to significantly accelerate the pace of MS research, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada announced the establishment of five research and training centres involving over 100 established scientists and 250 trainees.
The entities, dubbed endMS Regional Research and Training Centres (RRTC), come less than one year after the MS Society launched a major fundraising initiative to alter the research landscape in Canada.
“The goal of these centres is to boost our capacity to conduct MS research through training of the next generation of MS researchers,” says Yves Savoie, president and chief executive officer of the MS Society of Canada.
The five centres are part of the endMS Research and Training Network, a collaboration of MS researchers and trainees across Canada. It is funded entirely by the MS Society of Canada and its goal is to accelerate the pace of discovery so that an end to MS is found as quickly as possible. The establishment of the five RRTCs serves as a key lynchpin in achieving this goal.
Each centre is comprised of multiple academic institutions and teaching hospitals within a geographic region: Western-Pacific, covering BC and Saskatchewan; Alberta; Manitoba-Ontario, excluding Ottawa; Quebec-Ottawa; and Atlantic, covering the four Atlantic provinces.
For the next three years, each centre will receive $100,000 per year to fund collaborative training and research activities.
With over 100 researchers and 250 trainees involved, the sheer number of individuals connected through one network is unprecedented in Canadian MS history. Fifty four institutions are represented, stretching from Newfoundland’s MS Clinic at Memorial University to the three campuses of the University of British Columbia.
“The five RRTCs cross an impressive latitude of institutions and clinics. Their establishment represents a new genesis of collaborative and highly focused activity designed to end multiple sclerosis,” says Savoie.
Researchers and trainees affiliated with each RRTC will collaborate through conferences, regional workshops, online tools and inter-lab exchanges through which trainees will leave their host institution for a set period of time to train at another within the Network.
“These centres will provide a structure that will allow us to identify new and established members of the research community with whom we can develop new approaches to solve complex problems,” says Dr. Jack Antel, scientific director of the endMS Research and Training Network and a neurologist at the Montreal Neurological Institute. “We hope to attract the best trainees with a strong educational environment and an impressive capacity to interact with peers and mentors from many disciplines.”
In September of 2008, the MS Society launched the endMS campaign with a goal of raising $60 million to fund research activities that will end multiple sclerosis. Over $32 million has been raised. Visit www.endMS.ca for more details or to donate to the effort.