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      Damage repair and Fatigue are MS Research Priorities, says Society

      The UK's leading multiple sclerosis charity says more research is needed 
      into repairing the damage caused in MS as well as finding the drugs to 
      treat it.

      Speaking ahead of national MS Week next month, Mike O'Donovan, chief 
      executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, said, "Although we now have 
      drugs which can reduce the severity and frequency of MS attacks, they are 
      only suitable for about one in 10 of the 85,000 people in the UK who are 
      usually struck by the disease in the prime of life. 

      "We must go on looking for more effective drugs to treat symptoms but 
      there is increasing hope that a way can be found to mend the damage and 
      stop long-term disability developing."

      The Society has identified damage repair as a priority in its own research 
      grant funding programme. It recently made a grant of £250,000 to see if 
      adult stem cells can repair the damage to the myelin coating which 
      protects the brain and spinal cord. This leads in turn to damage to the 
      nerve fibres causing a wide range of disabilities.

      Mr O'Donovan said another focus for Society funding was research into 
      fatigue. "Nine out of 10 people with MS are affected by fatigue and half 
      of them say it is their worst symptom. It means people can be so exhausted 
      they can‚t do their job properly or even enjoy playing with their 
      children. We need to understand more about fatigue so better ways of 
      treating and managing it can be developed. 

      "Increased funding is crucial. We have earmarked £1 million this year for 
      grants for new research into repair and fatigue and we are already 
      committed to spending more than £11 million on around 50 other research 
      projects. Without more funds we shall not be able to afford many of the 
      high quality project applications we are receiving which could bring us 
      closer to eliminating this dreadful illness."


 For more information:
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            David Harrison
            Harrison Bergman Limited

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      Page last updated on 26 Mar 04 by Laila Takeh

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