Focus on Neuroinflammation

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada, and second only to trauma as the most debilitating. Affecting more than 100,000 Canadians, symptoms include altered sensation, loss of balance, disturbances of vision or speech, extreme fatigue, muscle weakness or paralysis as well as depression and cognitive dysfunction. MS is a central nervous system (CNS) chronic inflammatory and demyelinating neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by microvascular alterations, inflammatory infiltrates, demyelination, glial scarring, oligodendrocyte loss, and ultimately disability secondary to axonal damage and loss. Current disease modifying therapies for MS target inflammatory processes and fall into two groups: those well tolerated with only partial efficacy, or those with greater efficacy but increased risk profiles.

Our Goal: Stopping the damage and enhancing repair. Therapies with immunomodulatory as well as neuroprotective capabilities have the greatest promise in treating and preventing the disability attributed to inflammatory demyelination and neurodegeneration. Current projects apply both molecular and cellular techniques in cell based and disease models to study the relative contributions of inflammatory cells and mediators to disease development, with particular emphasis on the following:

  • Identifying sources and factors to protect against oxidative damage within the CNS
  • Novel therapeutics to limit cerebrovascular activation and alterations of the blood-brain barrier
  • Identification of cyto- and neuroprotective pathways relevant to MS and other inflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders

Together, we will end MS!

 

Support for our work

We are grateful to the following organizations and groups for their support of our work and people in the form of operating funds as well as studentships & fellowships.

  • Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MSSOC)
  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)
  • Milan & Maureen Ilich Foundation – the MS Research Renewal Fund
  • The Christopher Foundation
  • UBC MS Connect Program