Transforming Discovery into Opportunity

MS Society-CDRD collaboration advances promising research targeting progressive multiple sclerosis

Work of Dr. Craig Moore (Memorial University) to identify and validate novel drug targets

Development of new therapies for progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) is getting a boost this fall as the first project funded through the MS Society of Canada-Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) collaboration is launched. The study, which was selected from over thirty applications from around the world, will be led by Canadian researcher Dr. Craig Moore (Memorial University, Newfoundland). The six-month project will identify and validate new drug targets for progressive MS, with a particular focus on understanding how inflammation in the brain leads to subsequent tissue injury and repair. This research, which stems from Dr. Moore’s previous work at McGill University (Quebec), is to be performed at CDRD’s fully-integrated drug development and commercialization centre in Vancouver.

“We’ve identified several different molecules in cells of the immune system that could be targeted to help promote repair in the MS affected-brain,” says Dr. Craig Moore. “Together with CDRD, my research team aims to modify the brain microenvironment to resist damage and encourage repair. With state-of-the-art technology and biologically-relevant human brain samples, we are currently developing and testing methods that will enable the discovery of drugs to treat progressive MS.”

Funding this work marks an important step in the continuing collaboration between CDRD and the MS Society, which was formed with the objective of accelerating the development of safe and effective treatments for people living with MS. Drug development and business experts at CDRD will work very closely with Dr. Moore to advance his research towards clinical trials and subsequent new therapies for progressive MS.

“In today’s world of drug development, 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,” says  Dr. T. Michael Underhill , CDRD’s Co-Scientific Director. “The work we are beginning with Dr. Moore is a great example of how CDRD can bring these many parties, thier their facilities and expertise together to focus resources where they can be of greatest direct benefit to patients”

Although ten drugs are available in Canada to reduce inflammation and control the frequency of relapses in persons living with MS, none are proven to stop or reverse the progressive accumulation of tissue damage and subsequent disability. Because most individuals with MS are affected by this progression during their lives, there is an urgent need to develop drugs for this aspect of the disease.

“We heard from people across the country that research needs to be accelerated to bring tangible, life-improving benefits for people living with MS sooner rather than later,” says Dr. Karen Lee, MS Society of Canada’s Vice-President, Research. “By working closely with CDRD, and funding Dr. Craig Moore’s innovative research, the MS Society affirms it’s commitment to support research that will bring safe and effective treatments for MS, and uncover clearer answers about why progression occurs and how it can be halted and repaired.”

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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 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).

For more information, please contact:

Lindsay Gulin, MS Society of Canada
416-922-6600 ext. 3245

Barry Gee, The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)

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