Thursday, July 14, 2011

Research Teams Report First Year’s Progress From MS Societies’ Initial Studies on CCSVI and MS


MS Update
July 14, 2011


The first-year progress reports from seven multi-disciplinary teams investigating CCSVI (chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency) in MS indicate that they are on track to provide essential data and critical analysis as these two-year projects move toward their completion. These studies were launched on July 1, 2010 with a more than $ 2.4 million commitment from the MS Society of Canada and the National MS Society (USA).

The research teams have already recruited a broad spectrum of people with MS and others to build understanding of who may be affected by CCSVI. In addition they are refining CCSVI imaging methods for accuracy and consistency in order to reliably validate the occurrence of CCSVI and understand its implications in the MS disease process.

Representatives of each of the seven funded teams are part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)’s Scientific Expert Working Group.
Following a meeting of the working group in June 2011, the Canadian Federal Minister of Health, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, announced a Phase I/II interventional clinical trial on CCSVI. The working group will provide leadership and advice in the drafting of the terms of reference for the Phase I/II clinical trial in Canada, and will continue to monitor and analyze the data from the seven studies and other studies related to CCSVI and MS around the world.

Regarding the seven funded teams, all have received approval for their studies from the required Institutional Review Boards in the U.S. or the Research Ethics Board in Canada, a first step established by regulatory authorities to protect human subjects involved in research projects. Read more steps involved in conducting clinical research.

Already more than 486 people have undergone scanning with various imaging technologies being used by the studies, including the Doppler ultrasound technology originally used by Dr. Paolo Zamboni and his collaborators, as well as magnetic resonance studies of the veins (MR venography), catheter venography, MRI scans of the brain, and clinical measures.

Because the studies employ rigorous blinding and controls designed to collect objective and comprehensive data, the full results of the ongoing research will be available only after completion of the studies which will involve more than 1300 people representing a spectrum of MS types, severities and durations, as well as individuals with other disease types and healthy controls. In the meantime, several teams are planning to present preliminary results at medical meetings later this year.

“We are pleased that this important work investigating the link between CCSVI and MS is advancing quickly,” notes Dr. Tim Coetzee, chief research officer at the National MS Society. “Results from these comprehensive studies will help inform important next steps.”

Yves Savoie, President and chief executive officer of the MS Society of Canada concurs, “The CIHR’s Scientific Expert Working Group, who will provide leadership and advice in the drafting of the terms of reference for the Phase I/II clinical trial in Canada, will continue to monitor and analyze the data from these studies and other studies related to CCSVI and MS around the world. We are heartened to be moving closer to more definitive answers about CCSVI and MS.”


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