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Research and treatment timeline: 30+ years of MS milestones

While there is still a long way to go in understanding multiple sclerosis and finding a cure, we are pleased to look back on the important advancements that have been made to broaden our understanding of this complex disease and improve quality of life.

1981 —
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) first used to examine a person with MS
1995 —
Betaseron® (interferon beta-1b) approved by Health Canada for treatment of people with relapsing-remitting MS
1996 —
Canadian researchers find gene linkage to MS susceptibility
1997 —
Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate) approved in Canada for people with RRMS who are able to walk to reduce frequency of attacks

Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation (MSSRF) funds Canadian Collaborative Project on Genetic Susceptibility in MS – $4.7 million over three years

1998 —
Rebif® and Avonex® (interferon beta-1a) approved in Canada for RRMS to reduce the number of attacks, slow the progression of physical disability and to reduce the number of brain lesions seen on MRI
1999 —
Betaseron® (interferon beta-1b) approved by Health Canada as a treatment for secondary-progressive MS, to slow the progression of disability and to reduce the frequency of MS attacks
2000 —
MSSRF funds study of $4 million over six years that aims to determine whether transplanting bone marrow stem cells in people with MS can stop the disease

Interferon beta-1a found to have beneficial effect on cognitive impairment in RRMS

2001 —
MSSRF funds collaborative research study that seeks ways to repair myelin damage by MS, in the amount of $3.5 million over three years
2002 —
Study shows that pregnancy hormone estriol reduces MS lesions in women with RRMS
2003 —
International study conducted in Australia suggests that increased exposure to sunlight may reduce risks of developing MS
2004 —
MSSRF funds a five-year, $4.3 million study on children who experience an initial attack of MS and who go on to experience a second, in hope of identifying key triggers which cause MS

Link between vitamin D and the reduced risk of MS identified

2005 —
Health Canada approves Sativex® (a cannabis-based drug) for treatment of MS-related pain
2006 —
MS experts estimate that number of Canadians with MS is 55,000 to 75,000

Health Canada approves Betaseron® for treating people with clinically isolated syndrome that is suggestive of MS

Tysabri® (natalizumab) approved for treatment of RRMS to reduce the frequency of relapses, delay the progression of disability and reduce the number and volume of brain lesions seen on MRI

2007 —
Study finds that eye scan spots MS earlier in the course of the disease and may be useful in tracking progression
2008 —
MS Society funded researchers discover a protein involved in the maintenance of myelin

Dr. Paolo Zamboni identifies a possible association between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and MS

Official launch of endMS Research and Training Network, designed to accelerate discovery in the field of MS in Canada by increasing the capacity to conduct MS-focused research.

2009 —
Canadian researchers report that remyelination is more prominent in earlier stages of MS

Extavia® (interferon beta-1b) approved in Canada for reduction of relapses in RRMS and slowing of disability in secondary-progressive MS

2010 —
MS Society and the National MS Society (USA) commit over $2.4 million to support seven new research projects focusing on CCSVI and its relationship to MS

Study shows that interferon beta may reduce fatigue and cognitive deficits in patients with RRMS

2011 —

Gilenya® (fingolimod), the first oral disease-modifying therapy for MS, is approved in Canada

MSSRF funds a $3.8 million study on progressive forms of MS

MS Society funded study at the University of Alberta discovers new MRI method that measures iron levels in brain tissue to track disease progression

2012 —
FAMPYRA® approved by Health Canada to improve walking in people with MS

MS Society launches the Research Portal to engage people with MS to participate in Canadian research studies

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Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
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